How to Keep Your Home Cool for Less Money
It’s the same fight every year. As the temperature rises, so does your energy bill.
To save, you need tips for how to keep your home cool for less money.
Tip #1 – Change your air conditioning and/or heat pump filter.
Every HVAC expert will tell you to do this before anything else.
Tip #2 – Open the windows anytime it’s cooler outside.
That way, when a full heatwave hits, you can afford to keep the house closed up.
Tip #3 – Use floor fans to circulate cooler air to keep your home cool for less money.
Fans push cool air toward you and warm air away. All while costing a fraction of the energy required to run an air conditioner. Any day you can stay comfortable with just fans running, do it.
Tip #4 – Run ceiling fans to push warm air down to be cooled.
Warm air naturally moves toward cooler air, raising the temperature in your home in the warm months. (Heat moves upward to the cooler attic in cold months due to this same principle.) Here’s a simplified explanation of the science. Heat from the sun conducts through your roof, which heats the attic. That radiates to the attic floor and through to the ceiling. The heat then moves down to the cooler air in your living spaces, making it warmer in the room. (This process is why having adequate ventilation and insulation in your attic can make such a huge difference in your energy bills.) Ceiling fans can inexpensively speed up that air movement process while performing the double-duty of blowing cooler air at you.
Tip #5 – Get your HVAC unit tuned up and inspected.
This service typically includes cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils, checking refrigerant levels, and closely examining all the electrical and physical components. An HVAC professional can identify and remedy problems that are difficult to DIY. For example, a condenser coil and accompanying fan that aren’t functioning at full capability, won’t force warm air outside as well as it should. A professional knows how to bring it back to its designed efficiency. Likewise, if the evaporator coil needs attention, it won’t be condensing the warm water vapor in the air. Properly cleaning and improving the efficiency of the evaporator coil is not a DIY job.
Tip #6 – Go beyond the basics and get your ductwork inspected.
Even if your HVAC unit is in good shape, you could be losing cool air and wasting energy. Poorly arranged, sagging or leaky ductwork causes cool air to not get where you need it or to be lost entirely. If you’re not feeling good airflow from your vents, you’re likely losing air flow someplace. Typical culprits are ducts that aren’t properly sealed and insulated in areas like attics or crawl spaces. Find an HVAC pro who is willing and able to do a full inspection and any necessary repairs and improvements. Some contractors even have the ability to measure duct leakage using a duct-blaster test.
Tip #7 – Use the right-sized window AC unit for the room.
If you have window AC units, you could spend a lot of money but still not feel very comfortable. It’s important to understand that air conditioners have two functions. The most important function is actually the removal of humidity (warm moisture) from your home, not the movement (blowing) of cooled air. Therefore, if your unit is too big for the space, it will make the room feel cool but clammy, rather than cool and dry. This is because the unit will be blowing a lot of cold air quickly but not necessarily remove the humidity quickly. This is why cooling units are designed for specific room sizes and bigger is not necessarily better. Conversely, a unit that is too small for the room size will have to work too hard. Buy the right sized unit for maximum cooling with minimum energy usage.
Tip #8 – If you use window AC units, don’t cool rooms no one is in.
Shutting off AC units when you’re gone from a room for an extended period of time will help keep your home cool for less money.
Tip #9 – Don’t crank the AC down to what you think will be comfortable.
Instead, drop it a few degrees and allow the temperature in the house to drop to that. Wait a while to discover if it feels comfortable enough. If not, reduce the thermostat another degree or two. Some days the humidity is lower so you may not need the temperature to be set the same as other days. If you find yourself going past cool to actually feeling cold, you’re wasting money.
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