Beating the summer heat may seem easy with central air conditioning, but it isn’t always easy on your wallet. Fortunately, there are a few simple things any homeowner can do to save money while keeping their home comfortable. Here are four tips that will help you reduce your summer cooling costs.
1. Maintain HVAC System Airflow
Adequate airflow has a bigger impact on the efficiency of your HVAC system than virtually any other factor. When airflow is limited, the furnace blower will work harder to move air through your ducts and use more energy. There are several bottlenecks in your system that can block airflow if the system is not properly maintained.
The first place you should look is your furnace filter. Performing monthly maintenance on your air filter is an essential part of preventing airflow blockage. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may simply need to replace it, or it may be reusable after rinsing the dust and debris off of it.
Just as dust buildup can clog your furnace filter, it can also create blockages inside your ductwork. If you notice that the air from one of your vent registers isn’t as strong as it should be, you can try cleaning out as much of the duct as you can reach with a vacuum hose. However, ductwork blockages can sometimes be deeper in the system behind your home’s walls, and a professional duct cleaning may be the best option to keep your bill low.
2. Limit Activities That Cause Heat Buildup
Many of the appliances and devices that see daily use in your home can raise the indoor temperature more than you’d expect. Using your clothes dryer or oven during a hot day can necessitate turning the thermostat lower than you normally would. Even electronics like computers and televisions put off small amounts of heat while they are in use.
If you are used to taking warm showers or baths, the same steam that clings to your bathroom mirror could be raising the temperature and humidity of your home. During the summer, taking cooler showers and using the ventilation fan in your bathroom will reduce your reliance on your air conditioner.
3. Set Your Fan on Low to Manage Humidity
Dry heat is one thing, but humid heat is one of the most uncomfortable conditions that can occur in your home. Most modern central air conditioners are equipped with a dehumidifier to handle this very problem.
Central AC dehumidifiers take time to work, so the longer the air is in the system, the less humid it will be. If you’re running your air conditioner at the highest setting, the air may not have time to dehumidify to a comfortable level. Lowering the blower fan speed in your system will move air through the dehumidifier more slowly to keep your home more comfortable while using less energy.
4. Keep Your Windows Covered
Sunlight entering through your home’s windows is one of the biggest sources of indoor heat. Covering your windows with light-colored drapes or blinds will reflect much of this heat and light back outdoors. This is often enough to lower your thermostat a few degrees and still keep the indoor temperature comfortable.
Planting trees around the outside of your home is another great way to block sunlight from your windows with natural shade. The west-facing side of your home is the best place to plant, as this is where sunlight will be most direct. Deciduous trees are a great choice, because their leaves will block sunlight in the summer and allow it to enter during the winter when the leaves fall.
As these tips show, reducing your cooling costs doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive process. For all of your HVAC service needs, contact us today at Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning.