Summer Energy-Saving Tips
In the summer, staying cool becomes a serious necessity. Keeping heat out of your home helps your air conditioner operate more efficiently and effectively, allowing you to remain comfortable without outrageously increasing your energy bill.
Here’s what you can do to get more enjoyment out of your home:
- Stop heat gain through the home. The home’s exterior shell is constructed of materials like wood, brick and stucco. Heat easily moves through these materials; that’s why you need an effective layer of insulation behind the outer structure to prevent the hot summer air from getting inside your home. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had the insulation checked, schedule an evaluation now.
- Limit heat gain inside the home. There are activities that go on inside your home that generate heat, driving up the home’s temperature and making you less comfortable. Limit activities like using the oven or inefficient lighting.
- Be savvy about the sun’s energy. The sun is generally its hottest on the west and south sides of the home, so get smart about using shades and drapes to stop heat gain via windows. This is especially important to do in the afternoon, when the temperature starts to really heat up.
- Seal and weather-strip. Heat can also get inside your home through cracks in the home’s building materials. If you’ve ever felt a draft of hot air around your window frame you already know what it’s like to find a gap. Use caulk to seal around areas like window and door frames and apply weather stripping to movable parts, like around doors.
- Ventilate. To keep the heat down in the attic, it helps to insulate; however, the area also requires ventilation to keep hot air and humidity moving out. Ask an insulation specialist about your attic’s ratio of ventilation to attic space.
- Use ceiling fans. Running ceiling fans helps you feel cooler, enough that it’s possible to dial back the thermostat setting by 4 degrees – without noticing a difference in comfort. Turn fans off when you leave the room, however, as you’ll only feel cooler when you’re “under its influence.”
- Use exhaust fans. During a bath or shower, and when you’re cooking in the kitchen, run exhaust fans to help usher heat and moisture out of the home.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Sticking to a set cooling schedule limits drastic temperature swings and encourages energy savings, too.
- Schedule A/C maintenance. If you forgot to schedule a tune-up in the spring, it’s not too late to do so. Keeping the system in good working condition, in combination with effective insulation, air sealing and ventilation, ensures that your home will stay cool.
- Get a good reading. Your thermostat should be able to read the home’s temperature without being influenced by hot drafts of air coming into the home or sunlight. Ideally, you should locate the thermostat in a central location, away from drafts and the sun, in order to get an accurate reading.
- Check airflow. If the registers are dirty or closed, your home won’t get as full a capacity of air delivery as possible. Regularly clean registers and ensure they stay open.
- Replace air filters. Your A/C is working hard to generate cooled air. Help it work to its peak potential by checking the filter every month and replacing it when it’s dirty.