With summer comes the joy of warm weather, sun, and the great outdoors. While many of us look forward to this season, one thing most of us can agree we don’t look forward to is the increased utility costs of keeping one’s home cool. Although keeping costs down through rising temperatures can be a challenging task, it’s a task that can be made easily obtainable through simple strategies and regular maintenance. To make things easy, we have broken things down into three basic categories: functionality, maintenance, and replacement.
Reducing utility costs doesn’t always mean purchasing new equipment or making expensive repairs (but more on that later) rather it can be as simple as utilizing your home’s infrastructure in an economically prudent fashion. Our homes are designed and fitted with an extensive list of features that we can use to save money. So, if they are already there, why not use them? Here are a few ways to get started:
- Proper Use of Fans: Did you know that for each cent per hour it costs to run a ceiling fan it costs 36 cents per hour to run your home’s AC? While we are here, did you also know that running a fan can cool a room by 4 degrees? The point we’re trying to make is that by utilizing your home’s preexisting fan inventory, you can achieve significant temperature reduction for a fraction of the cost.
- Using Your Windows Properly: Using your home’s windows is a fantastic way to both insulate and cool. Sealing your windows and ensuring they are closed properly during hot days will help your home best sustain cooler temperatures. On the flip side, opening windows and creating drafts during times of cooler outdoor temperatures, such as during the evening, is a great technique to cool for free!
- Blinds: Closing blinds and drapes during periods of bright sun will help lower the indoor temperatures of your home. For each kilowatt of sunlight that enters your home through a window, you will require an additional kilowatt of cooling to offset the increase in radiant temperature. This is especially prevalent during the morning and evening hours when the sun’s angle shines more light inside.
- Controlling your Thermostat: Utilizing your home’s thermostat can be one of the simplest ways to address expensive cooling costs. Consider smart thermostats which can quickly adapt to your family’s schedule and preferences. These thermostats work so well in reducing energy consumption, that a significant number of utility companies will offer rebates for homeowners that choose to install them. However, if purchasing one of these devices is off the table for you, it can be as easy as ensuring you are using the AUTO function when cooling your home.
While increasing your home’s functionality is a great method to lower your AC costs, regular maintenance cannot be disregarded. Here are two important maintenance topics all homeowners should consider.
- Replacing Filters: The importance of regularly replacing your home’s filters cannot be understated enough. Regular replacement can reduce energy costs by up to 15% and greatly improve the health of the home’s occupants. The industry standard for replacement is every 90 days. However, if you have furry pets or family members who are sensitive to airborne debris, we suggest monthly replacements.
- Seal your Ducts: The ductwork operates as the blood vessels for your home’s AC, and any leaks in those vessels will result in an unnecessary loss of precious cool air. Through sealing leaks, you can greatly increase your HVAC efficiency by preventing leaks and easing the burden on your system.
While nobody wants to replace an expensive component of their home’s HVAC system, sometimes it can be a good economical choice. Over time, your home’s AC system loses efficiency and can become costly to run. Modern-day systems are designed with energy efficiency in mind and can lead to significant cost savings. If your HVAC system is nearing the end of its lifecycle, it may be time to consider a replacement sooner than later.