When summer hits, it’s time to keep the house cool with your air conditioner. But even though you might think that you know how to run your air conditioner and keep your house in a way that will optimize the cooling effects while minimizing the energy that it costs, you might want to think again. There are many ways that homeowners miss out on valuable opportunities to cut cooling costs, but we’re here to provide you with some tips for getting the most out of your AC.
Have Your HVAC System Serviced
One of the first things that you should do to cut down on energy loss is to have your HVAC system serviced. Small bits of dirt can clog up vents and filters, and minor repairs can make a big difference in the amount of energy that your air conditioner has to put out to cool the house.
Get Some Blackout Curtains
You should also think about investing in some dark, heavy curtains. No, it doesn’t always go with the breezy vibe that you’re aiming for in the summer, but blackout curtains or even just heavy, dark curtains can block out a lot of heat from the sun.
Install New Weather Stripping
You’ll be happy that you put new weather stripping around the doors and windows both in the summer and the winter. This is easily one of the best ways to save a ton of money on energy costs. A little bit of weather stripping can prevent the heat from getting in through the bottom of the doors and through the sides and bottoms of the windows in the summer and prevent the heat from escaping the house in the winter.
Don’t Cook or Do Laundry When It’s Hot Outside
Cutting down on the heat that you make inside the house is also important. For instance, don’t cook inside the house during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, you can grill outside or you can make food inside the house that doesn’t require using the stove or oven.
It is also a good idea to avoid running the dishwasher or dryer during the hottest parts of the day. A better strategy is to run them when you’re going to be away for at least a couple of hours. That way, you can program your thermostat to cool down the house a half an hour before you reach home and won’t have to worry about coming home to a hothouse.
Use Your Ceiling Fans Correctly
Using ceiling fans is another simple and effective way of cutting down on how much you have to run your air conditioner. One thing that a lot of people don’t know about their ceiling fans is that you should have them rotating in different directions depending on the season of the year. In the winter, they should rotate clockwise because of the way that the blades are tilted. This clockwise direction creates an updraft that will cause warm air to bounce off the ceiling and be redistributed throughout the space.
In the summer months, however, you should have the blades turning counterclockwise to create a downdraft that will be cooling. Additionally, you should have the blades at about a 12-degree angle to the floor, and they should be at no more than a 15-degree angle to the floor. You need at least 12 degrees to create enough air movement, but a 16-degree angle is much more likely to shift papers and other light objects.
Open the Windows at Key Times
While opening the windows during the warm hours of the day isn’t a good idea, it can be a great way to cool down the house during the night or if you have a cool day right after a hot one. This also gives you the opportunity to air out the house so that it’s not so stuffy. You can create a cross breeze by opening windows on both sides of the house so that the air flows through easily, and quite often, this will cool down a whole house in a matter of 20 minutes.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Updating your thermostat can save you a huge amount of money by helping you be more precise and mindful about when and how you’re using your air conditioning. It’s also nice to be able to turn on your thermostat or have it stay off longer just by pulling out your smartphone and making some adjustments.
When you have a smart thermostat, you’ll be able to have your air conditioner come on an hour earlier or later than what you originally set it at if you find out you’ll be coming home a little early or a little late on a particular day. This way, if you won’t be back until later, you’re not cooling a house that no one is around to enjoy, and you won’t have to come back to a sticky and hothouse if you decide to go home early one day.
A smart thermostat is also a useful tool if you have pets that you leave at home. If you go away for a weekend and leave your cats at home, you can easily turn the air up a bit if the weather gets hot. While cats aren’t as prone to overheating as dogs, they can still get heatstroke. So, if you’re worried about your cat, you can turn the thermostat to 77 degrees to keep your cat safe. The same goes for your dog, although dogs are more likely to prefer an even cooler temperature.
Change Out the Filter
You should also change your filter regularly. With all of the pollen floating around the air in the spring and summer months, people with allergies will appreciate it. And having a clean filter is also a way to reduce energy costs while keeping your home cool and protecting your HVAC system from dust that can clog components on your HVAC system and reduce the air quality in the home.
In general, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but you might also choose to change your filter early if you’ve had a season with a lot of pollen and other air contaminants. You may also want to change the filter more frequently if you’ve had to run your air more than usual.
Clean the Condenser
Cleaning the condenser on the outside unit is also important. You should do this at least once a season, usually toward the beginning of the summer, so that the air is flowing through the outside unit easily. Clean any twigs, leaves, and larger sticks away from the condenser, and you should make sure that the fins on the outside unit are straight because this can have a big impact on how hard your air conditioner has to work.
When you’re trying to keep the air in your house cool and clean while not running up your energy bill or overworking your air conditioner, you should employ some of these tips. You can also talk to us at Hansen Heating & Air in Mobile, AL. We offer a full range of heating and cooling services, including repairs, maintenance, and installations. We can also provide indoor air quality and generator services. Reach out to us today for more information.