The hot weather has arrived and it can be unbearable. Those AC units are now running all day and night and your electric bills will likely skyrocket. Have you considered an overall cooling strategy that could help you run your air conditioner less, save money, and stay cool? Consider these tips to keep the house cool and your wallet happy:
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Keep your home at a controlled temperature with a programmable thermostat. The most effective way to use it is to keep your home warmer when you are at work and have it automatically lower the temperature before you get home. When it comes to energy efficiency, the worst thing you can do is leave the A/C off during the day and then turn it on when you get home, burdening it to lower the inside temperature by up to 10 degrees; you will end up using a lot more electricity cooling the home that way. Instead, keep your thermostat at about 80 degrees while you are at work, for example, and then program it to drop back to the mid-70s a half hour before you get home.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Your appliances and gadgets give off heat even when not in use. When you are not using them, especially at night, make sure to unplug to reduce heat and save energy.
Maintain your A/C Unit
Your air conditioning will use less electricity if you keep your unit in good running order. An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
Trees not only look nice but the shade they provide is fantastic for your comfort and wallet. Several years ago, I planted two Crepe Myrtle trees outside and now the sun is completely blocked all summer long from entering those windows. Trees that drop leaves in the fall are ideal, as they’ll let in sun during the winter and help warm up the rooms.
Keep the Sun Out
Be diligent about keeping your curtains or blinds closed on windows when the sun is shining in, especially in the morning. If I don’t do this in our family room and kitchen in the morning, the indoor temperature would spike to 85 degrees quickly and the kids would likely be left sweating at the breakfast table.
Install a Whole House Fan
If you live in a painstakingly-humid climate, it could be worth investing in a whole house fan (as low as $200), which can pull in the cool air at night as well as in the early morning. Simply open a few windows, turn it on and enjoy the free air conditioner.
Run a Ceiling Fan
Run the ceiling fan to create a wind chill effect and make the room feel cooler. Ceiling fans should actually be adjusted seasonally. They should spin counter-clockwise during the summer at higher speeds. Ceiling fans consume only a fraction of what your air conditioner needs to run. Still, to maximize energy savings, turn off the fan no one’s in the room.
Clean the Air Ducts
Dust, debris and other blockages can build up over time restricting the airflow through your HVAC system ducts. This causes the unit to have to work harder to achieve the desired temperature. You should clean your air ducts every three years. If you haven’t cleaned them recently, it could be affecting your electric bill.
Keep the Cool Air In
Check the weather stripping around your doors and windows to make sure they are properly sealed. Weather stripping works by keeping conditioned air in your home and unconditioned air outside. Also, just because your doors and windows have weather stripping on them doesn’t mean your home is energy efficient. Over time, stripping can get worn and damaged, and should be inspected every year. The most cost-effective way to test your stripping is by holding a lit candle next to the doors and windows; if the flame moves significantly, closely examine stripping for tears or worn edges and replace if necessary.
By following these simple ideas, cooling your house can be accomplished economically without raising energy costs. If you find any structural defects that are leaking hot air into your home, don’t hesitate to call Xtreme Home Improvement and we can help in the repair/restoration process.