Summer will be here before you know it (hopefully!!, and it's not leaving any time soon. As the outdoor temperature gets higher and higher, so might your energy bill. Cooling your home can be quite an expense, but if done properly, doesn't have to empty your wallet every year.
Dirty, clogged, or blocked air filters limit precious air flow through vents and ducting. This will cause your air conditioning system to run for a longer time and try to work harder than necessary to cool your space, inherently increasing energy usage and wasting money. It is recommended, especially during the summer when these systems are working the hardest, to clean or replace your filters regularly to maximize performance.
Installing a programmable thermostat is the easiest way to save energy without burdening yourself in the process. A programmable thermostat, allows your air conditioning system to shut itself down or operate at lower performance levels during hours that you might not be home. There's no point in your system working hard to cool a space that's not being used. However, if installing a new thermostat is not possible at the moment, do your best to effectively control your air conditioning system depending on your daily activity. In order to save energy, set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible during the summer and remember to adjust your A/C appropriately when leaving the house or sleeping.
Most people tend to think of insulation as keeping heat in the home during the winter, but it’s just as important at keeping heat out during the summer! Make sure your current insulation is sufficient enough to sustain a comfortable temperature without allowing a lot of the cool air to escape through walls and ceilings. The attic is an important place to check for this, as the sun will most likely be cooking your roof throughout the middle of the day. The better shape your insulation is in, the more energy you will save by your air conditioner not having to work as hard to continuously distribute new cool air.
In certain areas, high humidity is a big part of the summertime and high moisture levels can cause discomfort and even health risks if not appropriately handled. A lower humidity level in your residence can provide increased comfort, lower risk of serious health issues, and even lower utility bills. Your air conditioning system is designed to remove moisture from the air and decrease humidity levels, but adding a dehumidifier to your forced-air system can do the job more efficiently and allow your A/C system to solely focus on cooling the house and save energy in the long run.
Seal any cracks and openings around windows, walls, and doorways to prevent warm air from leaking into your residence from outside. Use caulk or other weatherstripping materials to fix any air leaks that may be present. Areas where a high possibility of leaks may exist are doorways, leaky windows, along floorboards, and areas with attic access.
Ceiling fans are a great way to circulate the cool air that is being distributed by your air conditioning system. However, keep in mind that fans cool you down because of the wind they provide – they do not actually lower the temperature of the space. Therefore, be sure to turn off all fans when leaving a room to save electricity.
Make sure to close off any spaces that you won't be spending much or any time in, such as unused bedrooms or storage closets. Closing the doors to these rooms is an extremely easy way to efficiently utilize the cool air being distributed by your air conditioning system and not waste it on unused space. Doing so allows your space to reach a desirable temperature faster and makes it easier on your A/C, saving energy and money.
Avoid placing appliances or electronics near your thermostat, as it will sense the heat that is given off by these machines. This will cause your air conditioning system to think the temperature of the room is higher than it actually is and work harder than necessary to cool the space. This especially applies to lighting, so try not to place lamps close to the thermostat due to the large amount of heat that they give off when turned on. In general, do your best to keep appliances or electronics off when possible to avoid adding unnecessary heat to your home.
If the outside temperature in your region reaches a comfortably cool level at night, consider turning off your air conditioning system and opening some windows before you go to bed. Then, when you wake up in the morning, close the windows to capture the cool air and keep it inside. Additionally, if possible, close your blinds during the day to keep the sunlight out. This will help to keep the overall temperature down.
It is always a good idea to have your cooling equipment checked out by a professional, especially before mid-summer, the most extreme time of the year when it will be working its hardest. If there are any problems, it is best to find out about them before you are completely reliant on your system and may have to temporarily live without it while it gets fixed. It also will be easier to schedule an appointment with a service technician before it becomes the busiest time of the season.