Summer’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start this year, but you can bet it’s just waiting in the wings to strike. Energy prices are up everywhere you look…when summer heat does strike, be prepared to spend your hard-earned cash on ice cream and not utility costs.
- To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer. A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is adequate. All of these things can make a significant difference in your system’s efficiency. You probably want to have your duct system looked at as well to ensure that up to 30% of the cooled air isn’t leaking out from unsealed ducts before it ever reaches your living room.
- Change the air filter, and get a couple of spares to remind you that it needs to be changed monthly. This keeps the air clean and flowing, and therefore lets your system run more efficiently. Buying three at a time helps guarantee you’ll remember to change it when the time comes.
- Check your return air ducts throughout the house to make sure they aren’t obstructed at all. Cool air in the ducts doesn’t do you much good if it can’t make its way into the living room.
- Use your ceiling fans…correctly. While ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature of your home, they move air across your skin, making you feel comfortable at higher temperatures. Keeping on the fan while you’re in the room allows you to raise your thermostat a degree or two. Two things to remember: The fan should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter, and for optimal efficiency only use the fan when you’re in the room.
- Use a programmable thermostat to allow you to have the temperature a little warmer when you’re away and a little cooler while you’re home. You can change the setting in the cooler months to be warmer when you’re home and cooler when you’re away. A programmable thermostat saves you money all year long, but only if you set it and use it.
- Check your insulation between the attic and your living space for year-round comfort. Both cool air and warm air can both escape through inadequately insulated spaces, so add more insulation if you don’t have enough.
- Close the curtains or blinds during the day to keep the sunshine and heat out. In the winter, open them up to help heat your house.
- Consider installing a whole-house fan. In the cooler overnight temperatures, it will push the cool air into your home and push the hot air out of the attic.
- Cook in the microwave, toaster oven, or on the grill; avoid a traditional oven as much as possible to keep interior temperatures comfortable.
None of these tips are drastic, and most are free or at the very least inexpensive. Think of all the frozen treats you’ll be able to buy with the money you’re saving!