Inside: Don’t let the scorching summer heat burn up your bottom line. Use these tricks to lower your independent pharmacy’s A/C bill.
Cold air costs big bucks. At least half of your electric bill in the summer comes from air conditioning, depending on where you’re located. And you have to pay for it with your hard-earned pharmacy revenue.
This year’s summer temperatures have reached record degrees in many parts of the country. Funding the frigid air in your pharmacy building during the scorching heat takes a toll on your bottom line.
Unlike at home, you can’t get away with simply bumping up the thermostat and enduring the heat. Patients are your priority, so you need to keep your pharmacy comfortably cool. And you need to ensure medications are stored at the proper temperatures.
But with some strategic changes, you can drastically reduce your A/C bill while keeping your pharmacy cool. Use these tricks from the experts to cut your air conditioning costs while summer’s still hot.
1. Upgrade your A/C unit
Outdated A/C systems run inefficiently.
A new, energy-efficient system will cost you more upfront but will save you more on your A/C bill over time.
The Department of Energy (DOE) says a new unit can reduce air conditioning use by up to 50 percent. The DOE recommends buying an ENERGY STAR®-qualified unit for up to 15 percent more efficiency.
2. Maintain your A/C unit
Over time, equipment loses its efficiency and parts stop functioning fully.
Keep the equipment tuned up by:
- Cleaning the coils
- Checking valve connections
- Monitoring refrigerant
Taking these steps will ensure your unit is functioning at top efficiency. Read the product manual to follow proper maintenance practices.
3. Replace air filters
Dirty air filters block airflow, which makes your unit use more energy to cool your building.
They also ruin the heat-absorbing coils responsible for cooling the air. Routinely changing your air filters can reduce your electric bill by 5 to 15 percent.
And, it’s the easiest way to reduce your A/C bill, according to the DOE.
Also, keep in mind that the quality of the air filter matters.
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4. Use a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature to the rhythms of the pharmacy.
Program the temperature higher when the pharmacy is closed at night and on the weekend to save money.
5. Don’t block air vents
In the world of energy efficiency, covering air vents is a heinous crime.
Air works hard to travel through the ducts up to the vents only to hit a roadblock. All that traveling wastes energy and creates unwanted suction that’s bad on the system.
And, you have fewer vents working harder to get the temperature in the building down. According to ENERGY STAR, as much as 25 percent more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.
6. Run fans
Adequate fan circulation can lower a room’s temperature by four degrees. Over the course of a day, that adds up to a lot of energy.
But don’t set up any old fan.
Commercial or residential ceiling fans will look and work best. And, only run fans when people are present. They work by cooling people, not places, with a wind chill effect.
7. Re-insulate your building
Check the insulation in your building to see if it needs improvement.
The worse your insulation, the higher your utility bill.
With poor insulation, cool air leaks out of your pharmacy building and hot air seeps in. Some areas may need repairing and others may need replacing.
8. Upgrade your windows
Old windows do a poor job of keeping heat out.
In fact, the heat that sneaks through windows is responsible for a 25 to 30 percent of energy use.
The DOE recommends upgrading to the most efficient windows using review ratings on the energy performance label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
9. Dry up the air
Hot, moist air feels hotter than hot, dry air.
For climates with higher humidity, dehumidifying the air will go a long way to making your pharmacy feel cooler.
You can run a dehumidifier in the building or install special pipes to your A/C unit.
10. Reduce sunlight
Natural light looks and feels good. But direct sunlight heats up your building.
Whenever you can, reduce the amount of sunlight you let in through your windows.
Advanced window coverings let in light but block the solar heat. Regular blinds keep both the light and the heat at bay.
Also, consider planting trees to shade your building during the hottest part of the day.
Don’t let the heat burn up your pharmacy’s bottom line. Now you know the expert tricks to lower your pharmacy’s A/C bill.
An Independently Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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