Want to know how to keep cool and save on AC costs? At Aspen Creek Heating & Air, we know that when summer arrives, it is almost impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature setting inside the home at all times. Let us walk you through some great money saving tips to keep everyone in your family cool this summer. Heating and air conditioning your home accounts for almost half of your home’s energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- PLANT SOME TREES: Believe it or not, most of your home’s heat comes from the sun directly pouring onto the roof, or through the windows, this leaves you fighting to cool down your home from every angle. By investing in some nice 15-20-foot shade trees strategically placed around the house, you can offer up some nice shade and help keep your home cool year-round.
- SOLAR SCREENS OR WINDOW FILMS: These will contribute to saving about 70% of solar energy entering your house, and that is a huge help all around. They are also particularly effective on east and west facing windows and will do double duty by keeping insects out of the home so that you can enjoy the cool fresh breezes of summer.
- FLIP THE SWITCH: Lower your air conditioner’s thermostat setting to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home. And let that number rise to a higher temperature at night or when you’re away. You can save as much as 5% to 15% on your air-conditioning bills, just by doing this simple task. Place a note somewhere where you will see it, as a gentle reminder to do so.
- INVEST IN A FAN: You will want to circulate the air inside the house at all times, and by operating fans on your home’s upper levels and opening the windows on the lower levels, you will see a huge difference. If you live in a small space, close windows near the fan and open windows in rooms far away from the fan, preferably on the side of the home that gets the most wind flow.
- HANG OUT IN THE BASEMENT: Most of us know that hot air rises, so naturally upstairs may be warmer than downstairs. Don’t make the mistake of going in the basement and opening the windows though, especially if it is humid outside, this will just cause extreme thick and damp, non-cooling properties. So, put your feet up, and enjoy the coolness of your basement for a change.
- OPT FOR TAKEOUT, RATHER THAN OVEN COOKING: Using your stove and oven during hot days will just add fuel to the fire. Instead, try using your outdoor grills or microwave when a heat spell is in the works. Or better yet, order in!
- PROFESSIONAL HVAC MAINTENANCE: Be sure to have a professional service your HVAC system at least twice a year to keep the filter clean and to allow for good air movement and proper drainage. Maybe it is time to swap your older air conditioner for a newer unit; that could cut energy costs by half. Look for a high-energy-efficiency ratio, or an Energy Star-qualified unit. The higher the EER rating, means you get a more efficient air conditioner.
- WATCH WHAT THE HUMIDITY IS UP TO: Put the AC fan speed on high, except on especially humid days. On humid days, place the speed on low. The slower the air movement through the air-conditioning equipment, the better it removes more moisture from the air, improving comfort in your home and for your family.
- COOL OFF: Go to the lake, a public pool, or just grab one of those spray bottles with the built-in fans to spray yourself. Your body will eventually adjust to the temperatures around it, but in the meantime, grab a cool drink and help keep your body temperature at a comfy, cooler level.
- MAKE THE SWITCH: Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs cut lighting costs drastically? But did you also know that they cut cooling costs too? That’s because, unlike incandescent lights, they give off little heat. As much as 90% of the electricity used by an incandescent light bulb is converted to heat rather than light.
- FIX LEAKS IN AC DUCTS: If your home was built in the past ten years or is newer, you probably have well-sealed ductwork and won’t need to worry about it. But if you live in an older home, 10-40% of your cooling dollars are lost through gaps in the duct joints. This cool air is just wasted when the ducts run through an attic, crawl space or basement. It takes a professional to test for leaks before and after repairs, and we don’t suggest doing it yourself unless you are skilled at the task. Experts will examine your ductwork for cracks, splits or bad connections and feel for escaping air when your system is on. Once the leaks are sealed, you should keep the ducts cool by insulating them with R-6 or higher fiberglass duct wrap if your attic is on the warm side.
If you are in the market for a new AC unit, here are some guidelines to help you through the process of getting the best unit for your budget and size of the home.
- Buy Energy Star–rated central AC unit with a SEER of 14 or higher. A must for frequent use of AC, and extremely efficient.
- Buy the right sized central AC unit by making sure your HVAC professional schedules a thorough cooling load analysis on your home.
- Replace the entire unit, not just the condenser outside. If you don’t replace the inside coil or blower fan, you won’t get the rated efficiency needed.
- Buy a unit with eco-friendly coolant, in case you didn’t know R22 (Freon) was phased out of production in 2010.
- Use the Energy Star savings calculator at energystar.gov to figure out whether it makes financial sense to replace your AC. You will also find a list of the most energy-efficient AC units on this site as a guideline. A great informational tool.
- Check for local, state and federal rebates on higher efficiency units. Here is a place you can get that info: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®.
- You may want to consider an evaporative “swamp” cooler is an alternative which uses 75 percent less energy than conventional AC and costs about half as much to install.
Now that you know how to keep cool and save on AC costs give Aspen Creek Heating & Air a call to ensure your air conditioning unit is up to par and has been properly serviced since the last hot spell or hard winter. You will save a tremendous amount of money and headaches by following a regularly scheduled maintenance program for all your HVAC units. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.