The last several summers have set new records for heat, and there are rumors that summer 2019 might be pretty bad as well. Even if we catch a break though, we still know we’re going to be running the air conditioning some of the time, so it makes sense to cut down on our summer cooling costs as much as we can. Here are a few tips that work in any year.
Whether portable or ceiling, fans make everyone inside feel six or seven degrees cooler simply because there is a breeze, and the body’s natural cooling mechanism relies on moving air. A fan can also disperse cool air more efficiently, allowing you to raise the thermostat but keep the same comfort level.
Run the AC smarter
This may require a smart thermostat, but you want to try to set the AC to decrease cooling when no one is at home, in order to save some of that energy. Whatever thermostat you have, you’re being smart yourself if you raise it to the highest temperature you are comfortable with and use fans for the rest.
Avoid heat-generating activities
If it’s hot outside and you’re running the AC, some activities can build up heat in the house, especially baking or cooking. This is partly why grilling got popular in the summer, since the heat from cooking doesn’t warm the house. Running the clothes dryer may also warm the house somewhat, and that may be unavoidable, so try to have the laundry machines isolated from the living areas so they will only warm the laundry room.
Surprise, surprise: sunlight warms your house. If you’re trying to keep it cool, pulling the shades and draw the blinds can reduce much of the heat problem before you have to spend energy on fixing it.
Open windows (if it gets cool enough)
This depends of course on how hot it is outside, but depending on where you live it might get cool enough on summer nights that you can cool the house overnight by opening windows. Cross ventilation from through windows on opposite sides of the house or apartment will do the same job as fans but for free.
Update your lightbulbs
Incandescent lightbulbs produce heat. It might not seem like much because you don’t sweat near a lamp, but heat rises into the air above it, and that heat works against the cooling system, making it work harder. CFL and LED bulbs produce less heat, and on top of that they last longer and use energy better. Note that this is an upfront cost: you will have to pay for more expensive lightbulbs in order to save in the long term.
Making sure your system is operating at top efficiency is a major part of cutting expenses. Check air filters regularly and clean them if dirty. Replace them if they can’t be cleaned properly. Outside vents and units should be free from leaves, grass, or other obstruction. Cut down branches that threaten to get too close (about 2’) from the condenser unit.
In addition to checking filters, it’s a good idea to get your HVAC system checked every year by trained technicians to avoid emergencies and ensure smooth, efficient operation all season long. Call Twin Air in Manassas at (703) 754-1062 or visit us on our website.