Did you know that you can save 20-50% on your energy bills by switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner and taking other actions to lower your home cooling costs?
7 DIY Tips to Beat the Heat
1. Use Shade to Cut Cooling CostsAbout 40% of your home’s unwanted heat absorption comes through your windows (nrel.gov). When the sun is out, close all of your shades, drapes, and blinds. For added solar heat protection, consider purchasing solar screens for your windows, which claims to block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and glare. Other shading devices and techniques include awnings, shutters, shrubbery, trees, and climbing vines. Check out this landscaping for shade guide by energy.gov for some low-tech, natural ways to save on your cooling costs. Remember, you have control over how much sun you allow into your home.
2. Use Thermostat Settings for Maximum A/C SavingsWe recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher while at home and about 85 degrees while away. We do not recommend turning off your air conditioner entirely since you will use more energy getting the temperature back down when you come back home. Also, lowering the thermostat to its lowest setting will not cool your home any faster. It will only cause your system to run for a longer period of time. If you forget to raise the temperature back up, you could be wasting a lot of money and energy, so just don’t do it at all! A programmable thermostat will allow you to lower the temperature back to 78 degrees before you arrive so you don’t have to wait in the heat while your home cools down. Don’t forget to use ceiling fans and cold food and drink to help supplement the efforts of your air conditioner. By following these thermostat tips, you could lower your energy costs by about 15-25%.
3. Maintain Your Air Conditioner
- Check and clean your outside heat pump’s evaporator coil.
- If you notice bent coils, you can use a “fin comb” to straighten them out.
- If you have a window unit, inspect the seal around it to keep the cool air in and hot air out.
- Replace your air conditioner filter every 30 days or so. Set calendar and phone reminders so you don’t forget. This is probably the most important homeowner maintenance task you can do to keep you HVAC system running efficiently.
- Having your outdoor heat pump in the shade can reduce your cooling costs by about 5-10%.
- At least once a year, schedule professional HVAC maintenance. This can double the lifespan of your system and ensure that all your warranties remain in effect.
4. Seal Up Any Air LeaksGo around your home with an incense stick or thing piece of toilet paper and inspect your home for air leaks. Use weatherproof caulk and weatherstripping around your doors and windows where cracks and gaps are less than 1/4 inch. Use expandable foam spray for any gaps larger than this. Use this home map from energy.gov to test your home for airtightness:
5. Take Cold ShowersRather than showering in the morning, wait until the afternoon or night to take a cold shower when your body needs to cool down the most. This will also help reinvigorate you in the middle of a hot, energy-sucking day.
6. Use Energy-Saving Cooking MethodsInstead of using your oven, try using the microwave or toaster oven, or better yet, grill outdoors. Try to cook hot meals at night or the early morning. You can cook things like pasta and potato salad and then stick them in the fridge for a nice, cool meal.
7. Schedule Professional Air Conditioning Maintenance Once a Year (at least)You probably think it is completely normal to take your car or truck in for maintenance at least once a year, and the same goes for your HVAC system. Scheduling professional air conditioning maintenance will ensure that your manufacturer’s warranty remains in effect. Professional maintenance can also double the lifespan of your system and reduce cooling costs by up to 40%. Potential problems will be found and corrected before they become actual problems. Small repairs are made on the spot and free home cooling and efficiency advice is given during every visit. Call Boulden Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning for professional HVAC maintenance you can trust.
For more tips to beat the heat, read our other blog articles on the topic:
- Air Conditioning FAQ
- What You Don’t Know About Air Conditioning Efficiency
- Keep Your Home Cool Without Blasting the A/C
- How to Maintain Your Air Conditioner in the Summer