The pain and suffering caused by the Texas heat are well documented. Since 1975 (and well before), it’s been hot enough to fry eggs on sidewalks, car hoods, and plenty of other places. Efficient Home Solutions doesn’t necessarily recommend these cooking methods, but we do have some thoughts on how to keep your AC costs from skyrocketing this summer.
Properly Maintain Your HVAC System
This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed how crucial it is for your air and heating system to have preventive maintenance. It’s even more important as the outside temperature starts reaching into the 90s, 100s, and beyond. Don’t wait until the last minute! Remember that regular maintenance comes with a variety of benefits: it saves you money on repairs; it protects your family from airborne pollutants, and it makes your HVAC system last longer. While we’re here to help you in case of an emergency, we’d rather come to inspect your system before you’re in a bad and possibly dangerous situation.
Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency
There are many ways to keep those bills down, and some are remarkably simple – such as installing ceiling fans. Thanks to the wind chill effect, a fan can make you feel as much as six or seven degrees cooler. And if you’re running the air conditioner at the same time, your ceiling fan will let you comfortably raise the thermostat several degrees by helping disperse the cooled air more efficiently.
If you’re willing to make a more significant investment, consider your windows and screens. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends quite a few different options for window coverings. Among them are solar screens, which can be very effective at reducing solar heat gain, UV damage and glare. You can buy custom-made screens or adjustable ones, or even make them yourself if you’re the DIY type. In addition, replacing your windows with newer energy-efficient ones will not only keep you more comfortable but can also help you save money. Make sure windows are well-sealed too!
A few other projects to seriously consider:
- More attic insulation
- Better attic ventilation
- Ductwork sealing and modifications
Before undergoing something this extensive, you’ll want to see how potentially necessary each energy efficiency improvement is, how each will impact your comfort, and what kind of utility bill savings these investments will achieve throughout your home. We’re happy to offer free energy audits to determine your home’s level of needs.
Avoid Heat Build-Up During the Day
These methods for lowering your air conditioning bill are some of the most simple. Once the heat starts cranking up, be sure to keep your curtains, shades, and blinds closed. You can also reflect the heat by lining draperies with light-colored materials. Besides that, it’s also helpful to only run major appliances early or late in the day. Using your dryer or oven makes your AC work harder to keep the temperature down.
Run Your AC Economically
Finally, think about how you’re using your system during the day. Don’t turn the system off entirely if you’re gone; otherwise, you’ll force it to work much harder, by needing to dramatically lower the temperature when the outside air is at its hottest. If you won’t be home, it’s best to leave the thermostat at 75 degrees or higher. Programmable thermostats are also effective. According to Christina Kielich, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Energy, “Setting your AC as high as is comfortably possible and using a programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you’re out, or asleep, could easily decrease your summer cooling bill by 10%.”
Don’t Find Yourself Scrambling
We won’t stop you from cooking eggs on a hot surface, but we do want to keep you and your family cool this summer. Efficient Home Solutions will help you prepare while there’s still time, and we’ll take care of you if you need emergency repairs or replacement. Contact us with any questions or concerns – we’re here for you!