Save Money on Your Summer Energy Bill with These HVAC Tips and Tricks
Guest Blogger: Rebecca Anderson
As the spring season transitions into the hot, grueling days of summer, there’s no better feeling in the world than to escape the heat and stay cool inside your home. With the kind of summer heat that people have to deal with these days, it’s hard to let a day pass without running the AC system at full blast. However, that also means you have to brace yourself for the huge energy bill waiting to greet you at the end of the month.
While saving money on energy bill may not be the first thing on your mind as the temperatures soar, you don’t have to break the bank to keep yourself comfortable. Your home AC unit may be a power-devouring machine, but there are still ways to cut down energy consumption amidst sweltering summer heat, starting with a scheduled AC repair and maintenance.
Try these HVAC tips and tricks for more energy savings this summer.
Give your air conditioning system an upgrade
Taking energy-saving seriously may mean going for a system upgrade. Since heating and cooling your home makes up for almost half of your energy consumption, investing in a more energy-efficient HVAC system is a wise move that’s bound to result to more significant savings in the long run.
When upgrading your air conditioner, make sure to look for Energy Star certified units that have high EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings as they are 15% more efficient than the other models in the market. While you’re at it, you might want to consider switching the rest of your appliances to Energy Star certified device.
Fit your home with a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats have become a trend among smart homeowners for several reasons. The device allows you to set a specific temperature for different times of the day.
In the summer, you can schedule a higher thermostat for the hours when you're at work, and the children are in school. And then, you can program it to start cooling down when it's almost time for your family to get home. This trick lowers down your AC's energy use when you're out of the house, so you're saving money without sacrificing comfort.
Installing a programmable thermostat is something that you can do on your own, but you can also call in a qualified HVAC professional if you aren’t comfortable with mounting the device yourself.
Just a reminder: When installing the thermostat, make sure it’s not anywhere near lamps, household appliances, or areas exposed to direct sunlight. Thermostats are heat sensitive, and these factors might cause the AC system to run longer than necessary.
Regulate your home’s day time and night time temperatures
Even without a smart thermostat, you can still control your home’s temperature and cut down energy costs.
At night or whenever you’re at home, keep your air conditioning at 72 degrees as this is the ideal temperature both for comfort and energy savings. As you leave the house during the day, don’t forget to set the thermostat to around 75 degrees. The trick is not to go beyond 3 to 5 degrees of your home’s normal temperature so your system won’t have to use more energy to cool down the space again.
Clean your HVAC system at least once a year
Clogged and dirty filters can affect the performance and energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Changing them every three to four months helps ensure that they function as intended.
Aside from cleaning and changing the air filters regularly, it's also essential to schedule a professional AC maintenance service at least once, or if possible, twice a year.
Many homeowners try to skip these maintenance calls in an attempt to save money, only to find themselves faced with more expensive consequences in the future. Keep in mind that the slightest inefficiencies in your system can cause a spike in your electric bill.
Professional maintenance will help you detect issues in your HVAC before they turn into bigger problems. Think of it as an investment that’s guaranteed to yield positive returns many times over.
Make gravity work to your advantage
During the hot summer months, heat rises to the ceiling or the higher areas of your home. When there’s too much hot air, your air conditioner may take longer to cool the space, thus using more energy in the process.
So, how do you displace hot air faster? Fans.
Ceiling fans move the air around the room and help keep an even temperature, so your HVAC doesn't have to work too hard during hotter days. The rest of the time, flipping on the fan will allow you to raise the thermostat a few degrees higher without feeling a slight change in the room's temperature. Fans may seem old-fashioned, but they come in handy when your HVAC system needs a little break.
Keep your windows covered
What some people fail to realize is that sunlight, whether direct or indirect, can make it harder for your AC system to cool your home. Thus, one of the easiest ways to ensure energy savings this summer is closing your window blinds, especially during the day time.
If your entire family spends most of their time in school or at work, consider leaving the blinds closed all day. For homes with large windows, investing in highly reflective shades can help reduce heat gain by almost 40%.
Use the right size air conditioner
Many households don’t pay that much attention to whether or not their AC suits the size of their home, which is actually one of the reasons why they end up paying more for electricity.
If your system is too small, then it’ll have to take more time before reaching and maintaining your desired room temperature. If it’s too big, it will reach that temperature faster and then shut off, which is a problem because it won’t be running long enough to dehumidify the air properly. Installing the right air conditioner size is the balance you need to stay comfortable while saving energy.
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