Who doesn’t want to save money? The problem is that many homeowners are not aware that there are many things they can do to reduce their utility bills every month. A few bucks here and there can add up, and, before you know it, you have a few hundred dollars you can save in your bank account for a rainy day. You can start by optimizing the use of your HVAC system.
Did you know that your heating and cooling system is responsible for more than half the energy use of your home? But you can reduce the energy your equipment uses. Here are the ten commandments of energy-efficient home cooling:
1. Adjust Your Thermostat to a Lower Temporary
How does up to 10% lower energy consumption per year sound? You can achieve this even at no cost at all. All you have to do is adjust your thermostat down during cold weather and up during warm weather. If you adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees lower in winter and 7 to 10 degrees higher in summer, your HVAC will use less energy.
When you’re away or when it’s bedtime, you don’t need your home to be that cold or that warm. If you have the budget, invest in a programmable thermostat to make the adjustments automatically. In winter, leaving the thermostat on “auto” will make it run the fan only when your furnace is also running. This will stop it from running the fan all the time, consuming energy even when you don’t need it.
2. Seal the Gaps
If your windows are old, chances are they have gaps around the frame. You can seal those gaps with weatherstripping or caulk, both of which don’t cost much at your local home improvement store. Check the gaps around your doors and in your siding as well. By sealing gaps and cracks, you’re preventing the warm outdoor air from entering. You may not notice it, but when warm air freely enters through gaps and cracks around your home, your AC has to work harder, making it use more energy. When you’ve sealed those gaps, you’ll notice the difference in your next bill.
If your home is due for a siding replacement, ask your contractor about insulated siding, which is highly effective in reducing home energy use.
3. Have Your AC Serviced by a Professional
Calling a professional for regular air condition service can go a long way in reducing your energy consumption. This is about seasonal maintenance, which many homeowners forget or ignore. By having your AC unit serviced at least once a year, you can keep it running more efficiently and safely. Servicing can also extend the life of the unit, which means more savings for you.
Without maintenance, your unit can run into problems, and those might get worse before you even notice that something’s wrong. Mold can also thrive in a filthy AC, which makes your indoor air unsafe. Regular servicing prevents such issues. To make the most of your HVAC, have it checked before winter and again before summer.
4. Replace an Old AC
Older AC units are not energy-efficient. Not only are they old, but they were never ENERGY STAR®-compliant. Instead of waiting for an old, problematic AC unit to break, talk to your air condition service provider about installing a newer and more energy-efficient model.
A professional can help you choose the right size and power for your home. They can also advise you on the most energy-efficient units to lower your home’s consumption.
5. Use Fans
It may not seem like a good idea to run a fan and an air conditioner at the same time, but you can actually save energy by running your AC at a higher temperature and using a fan to circulate the air. The fan makes the air feel cooler. It does not use up as much energy as an AC unit, even a small window-type.
Don’t leave fans on when you’re not around, though. They only mimic a breeze; they don’t lower the room’s temperature the way an AC does. Fans are only effective when they’re blowing air over your skin.
6. Air Out Your Home
Schedule a time every day or at least once a week to turn off your AC and air out your home. This gives your AC some time to rest and fresh air can replace the stale indoor air. Open some windows on opposing sides of the room to facilitate the flow of air. You can also air out your home during an air condition repair appointment.
This is a good practice if you want to keep your indoor air fresh and safe. You can do it for at least half an hour even during winter. It’s also a good idea to open your windows during spring cleaning. In the summer or any season apart from winter, use fans to circulate fresh and cool air in a room with open windows.
7. Use Window Treatments
There are several window treatments you can install to reduce heat transfer from the outside. Curtains, blinds and shades can help make your windows more energy-efficient. A combination of blinds and curtains will make them even more effective. Close them when you want your home to be cooler, and just open them when you need more natural light and to reduce cooling bills in the winter.
Another way to make your windows more energy-efficient is to apply window films. Ask a professional about this so you can choose true anti-ultraviolet (UV) and anti-glare film.
8. Replace or Repair Broken Windows
Don’t ignore windows with broken glass or damaged frames. You might not know it, but a small crack in your window can reduce your AC’s efficiency. It’s time to call a pro to determine whether your window can be repaired or if it should be replaced.
Old windows were made during a time when energy efficiency was not considered. They don’t do anything to stop heat transfer or the escape of cooled or heated air. It’s a good idea to replace all of these windows, especially if you don’t intend to move out of your home.
Modern energy-efficient windows have dual-pane or triple-pane glass, with an inert gas fill between the panes to combat heat transfer. The energy savings and the comfort they will bring your home are worth the cost of replacement.
9. Get a Dehumidifier
If you live in an area that’s always experiencing high humidity levels, your HVAC may have a more difficult time keeping your home cool. High humidity can make the air feel warm even when the AC is running. Though ACs generally help reduce humidity in a room, you can protect your unit from being overworked by using a portable dehumidifier. This allows you to set the right level of humidity for any room. Talk to a pro regarding the right size and power requirements.
10. Make Sure Your Attic Is Well-Ventilated
This might cost you a bit of money, but if your roof is due for replacement anyway, talk to your contractor about checking the attic for ventilation. A poorly ventilated attic can become superheated in summer. As heat naturally rises up, it should have a way out, but poor or absent vents in your attic can trap the hot air instead. Not only will this make your home feel too hot, but it will also bake your shingles and shorten their lifespan. A poorly ventilated attic can cause a host of expensive problems.
Need more advice on how to keep your home cool while reducing energy use? Get in touch with us at EZ Air Conditioning and Heating. We offer air condition repair and other cooling and heating services. Call us today at (210) 558-7883, or use our contact page.