The Summer heat is upon us, which means most of us (and our air conditioning) are fighting valiantly to keep our homes comfortable and cool. Of course, this also means that our electricity bills for climate control are at their annual high point.
You’re in luck, though. This isn’t our first rodeo with a Summer heat wave and we are here to help. Here are a few simple steps that we recommend to cut down on your energy use and save on your electricity bill this Summer. Most of these you can do yourself, while others may require the aid of a trained HVAC professional.
#1. Clear Space for Your Outdoor Unit
Spring’s showers helped your yard and gardens grow strong, but now they might be clogging up your climate control! Make sure the fans in your outdoor unit unit are free and clear from plants and weed growth so that air can circulate freely around the unit. This is just as true for window units as it is for external central air units.
#2. Clean or Change Air Filters
If you haven’t cleaned your air filters yet from last Summer’s heavy use, it’s a good time to make sure that they are clean and flowing freely. Even if you did clean your filters at the end of the last hot season, they can still be blocked up with dirt from having not having been run all winter. A clean filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy usage by up to 15%, so be sure to clean or replace yours every month of two during this time of high usage.
#3. Seal Windows and Rooms So Cool Air Can’t Escape
None of our summer energy savings tips will be effective if your nice, cool air is escaping through leaky windows and doors. Consider installing weather stripping around drafty window and door frames, or plastic window insulation film on windows. If you are in an older home and the frames themselves are leaking, it is a good idea to have a professional look at resealing them.
Window units are also a key culprit of leakage, since they require an open window for installation. Make sure they are well sealed around the edges, or better yet, consider installing a split-type or central air-conditioning system.
#4. Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat
As the temperature rises outside, it can be tempting to fire back by cranking your thermostat lower. Resist the temptation! Setting your thermostat to colder temperatures than necessary means that your systems will work longer than necessary, and cost you more money. A great way to control this is by automating your home’s cooling with modern, programmable thermostats. These systems can decrease energy use when you’re not home, so you can save money without even noticing!
Be mindful when programming your thermostat, however. Creating too large of a temperature difference over the course of a day will force your system to work overtime to meet these varying temperatures at the specified times. It’s more efficient to maintain than to reduce temperature during the hottest time of the year, so be sure to keep your target temperatures within 3 degrees of each other.
#5. Regularly scheduled maintenance from an Expert
At the risk of sounding too salesy, we’d be remiss not to mention the benefits of regular professional maintenance. Climate control systems are complex machines, with pieces spread all over your house. All of these pieces will show wear over time and any one of them can be the cause of efficiency loss. Some key culprits are leaky ductwork, low refrigerant levels, thermostat accuracy and wear on belts and motors. Consider having a professional come take a look at your system at least once a year to make sure everything’s in tip-top shape.
Give us a call if you have questions! We’d be happy to come out and help implement these summer energy savings tips for your system, but we’d also be glad just to talk about climate control. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about making your home air conditioning more efficient!