Not every homeowner realizes how much money goes toward utilities, whether it’s winter or summer. Many factors contribute to the efficiency of a home, and a certain number fall within a homeowner's direct control.
To help you cut costs and save energy, here are ten useful tips to get your home ready for the summer heat.
1. Replace your bulbs
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional incandescent bulbs give off 90% of the energy they produce as heat. That means they cost you twice over: you pay for energy that isn’t helping to light anything, and then you pay to cool a hotter house.
Alternatives include halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They’ll cost more upfront but will save you money in the long run because they use less energy and give off less heat. If you’re willing to invest in dimmers or timers, you can save even more.
2. Move hot devices away from the thermostat
Your thermostat controls how often and how long your air conditioner turns on, so you want an accurate temperature reading. However, many homeowners forget a large TV or even a lamp could affect that reading, making the AC unit run more often than necessary. Move any heat-producing device or appliance away from your thermostat to ensure an accurate reading.
3. Look out for mold and moisture
The EPA advises that if there’s moisture in your air ducts, biological contaminants can grow there and be dispersed throughout your home. To prevent mold growth in your air ducts, managing moisture is crucial.
Repair leaks and get rid of standing water under cooling coils by angling drain pans down toward the drain. If you use a humidifier, maintain it properly or it could contribute to mold problems. Lastly, if you have wet, visibly moldy or noticeably smelly insulation or air filters, get a professional to remove and replace the offending material.
4. Landscape strategically
If you’re planning to update your yard at all, consider making choices that will help keep your energy bill low. The sun is a big force in raising your home’s temperature, but planting tall shady trees can keep it off your roof and walls to minimize heat absorption. If you choose deciduous trees, their leaves will provide shade in the summer but will fall in the winter, allowing sunlight in to help warm your home.
5. Adjust windows and treatments
Windows can make or break your home’s climate integrity, so deduce which windows receive the most direct sunlight and take necessary action. Awnings and window treatments can go a long way in shutting out light and heat, and it’s a good idea to have your windows checked and updated to preserve a comfortable indoor temperature.
6. Reset your thermostat
If you have a thermostat you can adjust, set timers. This allows you to set a higher temperature while you’re at work or elsewhere, and then have the AC kick on shortly before you return home, so it's cool when you walk in the door. This simple step saves you money without lessening your comfort.
Experts at Addcox Heating Center say adjusting the temperature between 2 and 3 degrees can save an estimated 10% on your utility bills, but be careful: adjusting the temperature more than 4 degrees can make your equipment work harder and longer, increasing energy consumption and ultimately, the cost of your utility bills.
7. Use outside air to cool your home
On moderate days when the air is cool, open windows and doors to let the outside air do the work. This adds to the life of your air conditioning and prevents you from paying for conditioned air when there are other ways to reach a comfortable temperature.
8. Update your insulation
Insulation plays a major role in indoor air quality and temperature, so get it assessed by an HVAC professional. The insulation offered today is superior to what was on the market ten years ago, so switching to a newer material can make it easier for your home to maintain a specific temperature. You may also be eligible for government rebates and tax deductions if you update your insulation.
9. Don’t forget your furnace
Most people are concerned with air conditioning during warm months, but summer is also the perfect time to get your furnace and water heater checked. Some providers even offer discounts for these services during the “offseason,” so it benefits you to check it off your to-do list now.
10. Ensure airflow
This can range from turning your ceiling fans counter-clockwise to replacing your AC filters. No matter what type of air conditioning you have, it will require regular maintenance by professionals like those at Addcox Heating Center, who can help you maintain a comfortable in-home temperature along with better air quality and monthly energy savings.