Now that we are in the heart of summer, you may have noticed that your energy bills seem to keep getting higher and higher as your air conditioner runs more and more to keep your home comfortable. While shutting your cooling system off could help you cut costs when it comes to your electric bill, it’s not recommended. Who wants to spend time in a hot, humid, and uncomfortable home? Not you, and definitely not the rest of your family!
Here are some simple tips to help you cut back on your energy use for the remainder of the summer.
Tip #1: Install a programmable thermostat.
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat installed, now is the time to get one. It won’t just prove to be useful during the summer months, but you will also reap its benefits during the heating season, as well.
These useful devices allow you to program different temperatures for certain hours of the day. During the cooling season, you can turn the thermostat up several degrees and let the home get a little warmer when nobody will be there to enjoy the conditioned air from your AC. And during the winter months, you can set it to be a few degrees cooler at these same specified times for the same reason.
Many homeowners are amazed by how much they’re able to reduce their monthly energy bills during both the heating and cooling seasons after installing a new thermostat. Not only will it help you save money, but it may also help reduce the strain on your air conditioner and furnace. In turn, this may mean fewer unexpected (and potentially expensive) breakdowns.
Tip #2: Keep your AC properly maintained.
If you haven’t already done so yet this season, schedule a tune-up for your home’s air conditioner. During this maintenance appointment, a skilled and experienced technician will thoroughly check all working components inside the unit to make sure they are free of dirt and grime buildup, and to also ensure their efficient and safe operation.
This won’t just help to keep your home cool and comfortable. When an AC system is running as efficiently as possible, it’s only cycling on when necessary, without any extra strain caused by dirty or worn out components.
In addition to scheduling a yearly maintenance appointment for your air conditioner, replace your filter once per month. You may need to change it more often if you have pets or smokers in your home, as these things could cause the filter to get dirty more quickly. Your filter is what all air passing through your home’s vents must first travel through. If it’s obstructed by dirt, dust, and pollutants, they can end up in the conditioned air that your family breathes.
Also, a dirty air filter could restrict air flow from your AC. When this happens, your cooling system has to work overtime to push cool air out to help your home reach the desired temperature set on your thermostat. All this extra use of your AC could mean higher energy bills, and possibly an unexpected breakdown.
Tip #3: Close your curtains and blinds during the day.
You may be surprised by how much the natural sunlight can raise the temperature in your home during the day. When this happens, it can cause your AC to switch on more often than what’s really necessary in order to keep your home cool.
Instead, keep your blinds closed and your curtains drawn during the day, if possible. This will help to prevent the inside of your home from heating up too much and triggering your AC to run and waste electricity — i.e., cost you money on your energy bills!
Also, at night, consider shutting your AC off and letting in a breeze by opening these windows. That is, if it’s not too humid outside!
Tip #4: Check the seals around your window and door frames.
Often, when there are gaps in the seals around windows and doors, conditioned air from your AC can easily escape. Likewise, hot and humid air from outside can seep in. To determine whether or not you have this problem in your home, you can perform a simple test. Slowly pass your hand around the perimeter of your window and door frames, making note of any areas where you feel the movement of air. These are the areas where you’ll need to add extra sealant.
Along with performing this simple window and door frame test, if you’ve noticed expensive energy bills throughout the year, consider turning to a professional energy auditor for assistance. He or she will be able to perform a variety of tests, including a blower door test, to pinpoint the areas in your home where conditioned air may be escaping.
Tip #5: Replace outdated appliances.
If your refrigerator, stove, washer, or dryer have seen better days and need replacement, stop putting it off. These appliances can be expensive, but you could benefit in the long run when it comes to your energy bills. Outdated appliances may be sucking up a ton of energy while in use — especially your refrigerator, which uses electricity 24/7. Many homeowners are shocked by how much money they save on their monthly energy bills by replacing just one of these appliances.
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