And if you have a central air system with an outdoor unit, one simple mistake could be costing you hundreds over the course of the summer.
TikTok user mrs_cantbebothered posted a video on TikTok explaining that she realized she needed to clean her unit, and said her bill was reduced by nearly 50% after the maintenance work.
She broke down the process into three simple steps.
After turning her unit off so she could safely work on it, Kiley – who runs the account – began cleaning off the dust and dirt that accumulated around her AC coil.
She purchased a fin tool to carefully comb through the coil and scrape off the layer of grime.
The fin tool not only clears away built-up dust, but it also helps keep the coil’s fins from bending and blocking airflow.
After getting most of the dust off the fins, Kiley then applied a foaming fin cleaner to the inside of the unit and rinsed with water to eliminate more dirt.
While it’s safe to use water to clean your AC unit, avoid using chemical solutions that weren’t specifically made for air conditioners.
According to Hustle, harsh chemicals like ammonia and bleach can damage your AC.
Lastly, she also reached into the unit and pulled out any sticks, leaves, or other debris that had fallen past the fan blades.
Like the dust on the fins, the debris limited airflow and prevented the AC from working as efficiently as it could.
When she was done, Kiley’s newly cleaned unit was almost unrecognizable.
And the savings followed quickly.
“Spoiler: my energy bill is already like 50% less,” she wrote in the video’s caption.
EnergySaver, the US Department of Energy’s consumer advocacy wing, recommends cleaning your air conditioner at least once per year.
In addition, EnergySaver recommends cleaning your air conditioner’s filters at least once every two months during seasons that it’s in use.
Other ways to reduce your energy
However, there are ways to avoid higher costs while staying cool.
By improving your home’s insulation, you can reduce your energy bill by up to 20%.
Other simple tricks like closing the shades can reduce heat by nearly 33% according to the Department of Energy.
Energy Saver estimates you can save 10% on cooling costs by turning the temperature up by 7° to 10° for eight hours a day, such as when you’re away.
And households can save more than $100 annually by unplugging appliances that consume electricity even when turned off.
Here’s how much running a fan overnight will cost you.
Plus, we shared more tips on how to save on your energy bills.