Summer is here, and Mother Nature is giving us a pretty hot summer season. Most of us are probably running our air conditioners non-stop. What are some ways you can keep your home cool without paying extra on your energy bill? We encourage you to use this information as a guide to getting the most out of your home’s cooling system to maintain a comfortable home—regardless of the temperature outside.
Use Your Windows to Keep Cool Air In and Hot Air Out
Your windows are vital components when it comes to your home’s comfort—especially during the summer. They can also become an enemy of your efforts to maintain an energy-efficient home. If you live in an older house and the windows haven’t been replaced, there may be leaks. Two inexpensive solutions include blackout window film and thermal-control curtains. Both products are designed to block out the sun’s intense heat and light. When you keep your curtains or shades closed during the day, you minimize the amount of solar gain you’re getting from windows. You can also buy weather stripping putty and use it to seal leaks in the framing.
Use Your Thermostat Correctly
If you have a programmable thermostat, learn how to use it. It’s the most useful tool you have in keeping your home as energy efficient as possible this summer. Programmable thermostats let you set the temperature so your home is comfortable while you’re home, and you aren’t paying to cool it when no one is there. If you leave for work in the morning, set your thermostat to raise the temperature from the time you exit the house until just before you get home.
Use Ceiling Fans to Move Air
Many homeowners don’t understand that using a ceiling fan will help your air-conditioning system work more efficiently—not the opposite. Ceiling fans move air around, and that creates a draft. You aren’t using the ceiling fan to cool the room. The draft that occurs because the fan is circulating air in a room creates a wind chill effect—and that cools people, not the fan itself. When you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air-conditioning system, you may be able to turn your thermostat up by four or more degrees.
What You Can Do to Keep Your AC Running Efficiently
If you’re trying to maintain an energy-efficient home this summer, then you ought to be sure to change your HVAC unit filter as often as the filter manufacturer and warranty recommend. The HVAC filter traps dust, particulate material, and other contaminants to prevent them from getting through the air ducts and polluting your home’s air. You should also ensure the cage-like enclosure encasing outdoor components (the compressor, condensing coil, and fan) isn’t full of leaves, grass clippings, and other debris that could travel through the system with coolant into the house.
Avoid Using Heat-Generating Appliances During the Hottest Part of the Day
Appliances such as your clothes dryer, iron, oven, and dishwasher tend to generate heat. If you’re trying to keep your house cool, it’s counterproductive to use those appliances during peak cooling hours. Instead of using your oven to cook, use the stove top, or cook things outside on a grill. Instead of running the clothes dryer during the day, consider hanging clothes on a laundry line outside—or even indoors. You’ll reduce the amount of energy you are consuming while ensuring your cooling system is as efficient as possible. Run the dishwasher before you go to bed at night. Turn off devices and unplug power strips when you aren’t using them.