The hot season can assault your senses and wallet. While the sound of a running the air conditioner is quite relieving during summer, it could also be the sound of a drying bank account if you do not work out a money- and energy-saving strategy. Use these tips to ensure that your air conditioner does not blow your money away.
IMPROVE YOUR NATURAL VEGETATION
Direct sunlight overworks your AC. Plant leafy trees around your house to stop the sun from shining directly inside your house. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can increase your AC's efficiency by 10% by having trees and shrubs that shade your air conditioner's outside unit.
If you do not have the space to plant trees, consider climbing plants such as vines and other thick hanging flowers. Shrubs and groundcover plants also shade your ground and pavements, which minimizes heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches your windows and walls.
CONDUCT A HOME ENERGY AUDIT
If yours is a typical home without any special energy needs, heating and cooling is your largest energy expense accounting for close to 50% of your energy bill. Conducting a home energy audit or assessment helps you evaluate how much energy you are consuming and how to make your home more energy efficient.
The wrong type or size of AC, for example, can mean you are using more energy than necessary to cool your home. Doors and windows that are worn out, poor insulation and other cracks can allow cold air to seep out into the neighborhood, meaning your AC has to work more than it should to keep the house continuously cool. A home energy audit will reveal problems you can correct and save significant amounts of money.
USE YOUR WINDOWS APPROPRIATELY
Clothing your windows with a mesh-like solar screen can help intercept heat before it gets into your house. Window films are also a good option. They are metalized sheets that reflect heat before it is transmitted into a room. In the seasons when it is cold at night, turn off your AC and open the windows.
Before it gets hot during the day, close your windows and shut your blinds to keep the cold air inside. It is wise to consult your HVAC contractor to understand what measures best compliment your air conditioning unit.
SET YOUR THERMOSTAT RIGHT
When the indoor temperature is closer to the outside temperature, your AC unit will use less energy. In the summer, try to set your thermostat to the highest temperature that you can comfortably withstand.
Minimize that difference even further while you're out of the house. Upgrading to a thermostat that is programmable can make it easier to set the temperatures appropriately. After you get home on a hot day, you should avoid setting your thermostat to an abnormally low temperature in an attempt to cool your house faster. It will only result in too much cooling and a higher energy bill.
MAINTAIN YOUR COOLING SYSTEM REGULARLY
It is not enough to put in place all the cold retention measures in and outside your home. If you do not properly care for your AC and maintain it regularly, it will raise your energy bill. A simple maintenance task such as changing your filters to allow sufficient air flow can cut the AC's energy consumption by as much as 15%. Always use a certified HVAC contractor for maintenance to avoid damaging your air conditioning unit.
Summer should not automatically translate into high energy bills. A well-thought strategy to keep your house cool can help you stay comfortable without having to break your bank account. A good cooling plan, however, starts with a good air conditioning unit and expert installation.
Contact Authorized Heating & Air Conditioning. Inc. to replace or upgrade your cooling or air quality system.