As any business owner is aware, a large cost of maintaining a welcoming environment for employees and customers is making sure that the environment is comfortable--not too hot and not too cold. For most business owners, this means simply eating the cost of high electric bills.
However, there are ways that you can save money and still maintain good indoor air quality throughout your business, many of these are very low cost and can be immediately introduced the same day. Simple things like making sure doors and windows have proper weatherstripping and are kept closed when not being used can end up saving you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year; Many people do not make sure that there is not air leaking around the bottom of doors and windows, or they underestimate the problems (aside from loss of money, air gaps can cause too much humidity which leads to mold, or even pest infestations within a building, particularly if the business is a food based one) and money loss it is causing. Weatherstripping is low cost and can be installed the same day, even by people who do not have any prior experience in doing so.
Now that we have talked about how to use physical barriers to reduce air, we can look at more involved ways to lower AC bills, all the while keeping your business cool and warm enough.
1.Replace Old AC Units
While this is obviously a significant monetary investment, the benefits of purchasing a new unit will by far outweigh the cost; While it is possible, of course, to repair an AC unit, it is often very expensive and will likely not significantly extend the life of a unit that is simply worn out. As an additional benefit, units labeled "Energy Star" can use up to 50% less energy than regular models, saving you even more money.
2. Get a Programmable Thermostat
While this may seem like a no brainer, there are still people who do not have thermostats that can be set on a timer so that less heating/cooling energy will be used when the business is not open. With a programmable thermostat, you can not only set a time schedule for when you use your cooling unit, with many models you can also set individual temperatures for each room according to individual preferences or needs.
3. Remember to Regularly Replace Air Filters
This is another common money saving tip that is often neglected both by home and business owners. An old air filter is an air filter that not only is not performing adequately which means your units will be running more often, costing you money, but it also means that allergens are likely being introduced into the atmosphere.
4. Make Sure your HVAC Unit is not Obstructed
This means that you should keep your unit away from potentially dangerous shrubbery, trees, or other building structures which could potentially damage or ruin it. Remember, your unit will provide you with many years of service if you take care of it.
5. Make Sure your Vents are Open
Some people like to keep certain vents closed because they do not want as much air blowing in that area, etc. This is really not a good idea if it can be avoided--and being able to control the temperature with a programmable thermostat may take the place of closing a vent. Obstructing air flow can shorted the life of your unit, and in some cases, cause overheating or other electrical issues that could potentially be dangerous. Also, heat rises, so running ceiling fan(s) can be another low cost way to keep an area cooler without turning the AC cooler.
As you can see, there are many ways you can both save money and improve the quality of the air in your business and home. If you have questions or are still dealing with high bills after integrating some of these ideas, contact an HVAC professional who can inspect your business or home and give you an estimate of what can be done to improve the quality of your environment.