Tired of High Light Bills?
9 easy tips to save on your cooling costs this summer
1. Seal your ductwork.
The unsealed ducts in your attics and crawl spaces lose air—uninsulated ducts lose heat, wasting energy and money. Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawl space. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can also be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints. In the summer, hot attic air can be drawn in, increasing the load on the air conditioner. In the winter, your furnace will have to work longer to keep your house comfortable. Either way, your energy losses cost you money. Although minor duct repairs are easy to accomplish, ducts in unconditioned spaces should be sealed and insulated by qualified professionals using the appropriate sealing materials.
2. Invest in a programmable thermostat.
You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don't operate the equipment as much when you are asleep or when the house or part of the house is not occupied. Ask about our worry-free touch screen thermostats.
3. Have your indoor and outdoor coils professionally inspected and cleaned.
Fast fact: for every 1/100th inch of dirt on your coil, the efficiency of that coil drops by 5%! Basically, if you can see it, you're losing money. The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt buildup on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt buildup and cleaned if necessary. This can potentially save you up to $30 (or more) per month on your utility bill.
4. Change your air filters every month.
This will help maximize efficiency of the equipment as well as improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe. Take our advice: use the 1” pleated filters instead of the cheap mesh-like filters you find in the grocery store.
5. Avoid using large appliances during the middle of the day.
You may not realize it, but major appliances – even light bulbs – act as little heaters in your home. During peak cooling hours, even small heat sources can have a huge impact on the operation of your A/C system. Try using dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers during the cooler hours of the evening.
6. Get your A/C system inspected before it gets hot.
Invite a certified, licensed technician to perform a seasonal A/C inspection of your system in the Spring. Often, small problems can be pinpointed and remedied before they lead to large, more expensive repairs. Make sure you contact a reputable company that is listed with the BBB (go to www.bbbhou.org) to ensure that you are treated honestly.
7. Shade east and west-facing windows.
These are the windows that get the most exposure to the sun and are a major source of heat infiltration into your home.
8. Keep your house closed during the day.
Leaving windows or doors open even at night time can lead to high humidity levels in your home and extra strain on your A/C system. Your home can feel 4 to 5 degrees cooler, and you can add several years life to your system by keeping the humidity level down
9. Close off unused rooms.
By closing the vents in unused rooms, you direct cool air to the areas of the home that need it most. You essentially increase the cooling capacity of your air conditioner and save precious dollars on your light bill.
Other common problems left unnoticed by homeowners include crushed or improperly installed ductwork. Units that do not drain and are not pitched properly allowing unwanted humidity to be re-introduced into the home. Improperly installed metering devices. Kinked or restricted linesets. Improperly installed components such as 2 liquid line driers, the wrong RPM fan motor etc. Or possibly even the wrong components such as the wrong size run capacitor, compressor, coil, etc.