With hot weather gripping most of the country, many homeowners are cranking up their home AC units. However, doing so can be costly and expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which people can bring their cooling costs down as August arrives and keep these expenses at a minimum moving forward.
Most homeowners are aware to air condition even a single room of their home on a long-term basis is expensive, and can often double the price of a home’s normal power bills, according to Outstanding Air. With that in mind, even a handful of simple steps could help to significantly reduce the amount of power homes use throughout their sweltering summers.
Here are just a few:
1. Install ceiling fans
It may seem counterproductive to add even more electric appliances in an attempt to reduce power consumption, but a ceiling fan provides either a good alternative to air conditioning or a helpful assist. A ceiling fan can help reduce the temperature in a room by as much as 10 degrees by pulling hot air away from inhabitants and constantly circulating it. Using it on its own may help on days that aren’t too hot, but using it in concert with an air conditioner set on low can make the AC work a little less hard.
As a bonus, ceiling fans that are able to spin both clockwise and counterclockwise can also help reduce heating bills in the winter. This is because as hot air rises, running the fan in the opposite direction helps redistribute it back down to the floor of a room.
2. Go higher
It’s a good idea to turn the AC unit’s temperature setting up a few more degrees than normal can reduce costs as well. Often, people won’t notice the difference between 68 and 72 degrees, but for every degree higher it goes, cooling costs are reduced by as much as 9 percent.
3. Keep the sunshine out
Many homeowners may want to let the sun into their homes to keep plants happy and healthy, and otherwise make their living spaces bright, but doing so can increase costs significantly, according to Carjon Air Conditioning and Heating. The greenhouse effect applies to all types of glass, so letting in sunlight heats up a room. And even if that’s only just by a few degrees, the cost can add up, especially for houses that get a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
Instead, it’s smart to keep the blinds closed at this time of year.
4. Check under the hood
Whether a home has a central air conditioning system or relies on a number of window units, it’s important to make sure those devices are running properly. Checking their air filters (and replacing them if
necessary) as well as clearing out any debris that might have accumulated inside, on or around them will help ensure they run as efficiently as possible.
For homes with older units, it might simply be a better idea to replace them with newer and more efficient options. As with installing ceiling fans, that will require some up-front investment, but the cost benefits will really add up over time.
5. Start programming
For homes with a central AC system, it’s also a good idea to invest in a smart programmable thermostat, according to Family Handyman. Most people know it’s not smart or efficient to run their ACs all day, every day – especially when they’re not home – but may not do as much as they can to ensure they avoid absentmindedly leaving it running when they go to work.
With a wireless-enabled smart thermostat, they will be able to control their homes’ temperature from anywhere they can get an internet connection, meaning they will never have to worry about running their ACs – or heating – unnecessarily.
6. Get an expert opinion
It might be wise for homeowners to do what is known as an efficiency audit, in which trained professionals check over a home to make sure there are no issues with the structure of the home itself that would lead to inefficient operation of an HVAC system.
These audits can identify even the tiniest cracks in seals around doors and windows or in a home’s foundation that, if patched, can dramatically boost a home’s ability to keep cool air in and hot air out. Some estimates show that a typical home may have enough of these little cracks and holes to add up to the equivalent space of leaving a window open 24/7, all year long. Sealing them up is often as simple as applying a bit of caulk other sealants.
7. Be smart about food prep
Many homeowners love to cook but doing so during the summer isn’t always a good idea, according to Bankrate. After all, running the stove can really heat up a kitchen, and that’s going to make the air conditioner work overtime to keep the room or whole home at the desired temperature. Instead, preparing foods that don’t need the oven or stove – or can be made in the microwave – is a good idea.
And when this appliance absolutely must be used, it’s a good idea to only use it at night, when the temperature is lower, with the kitchen exhaust fan turned up as high as it goes.
8. Watch the humidity
When it gets particularly hot and humid, it’s a good idea to avoid the temptation to crank the AC to 11. Instead, consider setting a unit to “low” and letting it get to work when the humidity rises. The reason why is simple: When ACs are on low, air spends more time in the unit itself, and this allows the device to pull just a little bit more of the water vapor out of the air it’s cooling.
That, in turn, means the AC doesn’t have to work as hard to keep air chilled on an ongoing basis, especially on the days it’s needed most.
Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com