With months of temperatures in the high 90s and triple digits to look forward to here in the Bryan-College Station area, you’ll need relief from not only unrelenting heat but sky-high electricity bills, as well.
It can be costly to stay cool. Fortunately, there are ways to curb costs without sacrificing comfort. Here’s how.
Fan it Up
There’s no getting around it. You’ll need to use your air conditioner this summer. But there is no reason it should do all of the heavy lifting. Fans can help take some of the load off.
Fans on their own don’t make a room cooler, however, they can make a room feel 4 to 8 degrees cooler due to the wind chill effect. That means you can bump your thermostat up several degrees without a discernible difference in room temperature. You will, however, see a difference in your electricity bill.
Should we be lucky enough to have a blessedly cool evening, turn off the AC and open the windows wide open. Create a cross breeze by pointing one fan out of a window to pull hot air out of the house. Place another fan in an open window to bring cool air in.
If you have a ceiling fan, be sure to run it counter-clockwise to push air downward. The higher the temperature the faster it should spin.
Use Blackout Curtains
The less heat your cooling system has to overcome, the more efficient it is. One major source of heat: Your windows. Blackout curtains, which are made of tightly woven fabric, can curb thermal energy loss by up to 25%. Another added benefit: They’ll help muffle annoying neighborhood noises like leaf blowers and barking dogs.
Tune-Up Your Air Conditioner
When is the last time you had your air conditioning system tuned up? We recommend scheduling a preventative maintenance check-up twice a year. Each year you neglect to do this, your system will have to work harder to overcome the dirt and build-up in the condenser coils, resulting in a decrease in efficiency.
Plant Some Shade
The searing Texas sun can be punishing on your HVAC condenser. Cool the air around it by planting trees, shrubs or bushes near the unit or installing an awning over it. This alone can help your cooling system operate as much 10% more efficiently.
Have Your Ducts Checked
If your ducts have gaps, then your HVAC system is wasting a tremendous amount of energy releasing conditioned air where it’s not needed, such as the attic. Watch for these red flags that your ducts are leaking:
- Your electricity bill is higher than normal. If this is the case, your AC system is working harder than it should to reach your desired temperature.
- Your home is excessively dusty. This could be due to a gap in the ductwork drawing in dirty air from the attic, garage or crawlspace.
- There are hot spots in your home. Cool air isn’t reaching certain areas because it’s escaping before it reaches the vent.
A professional HVAC technician can measure air pressure to gauge any loss.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
A smart thermostat adjusts temperatures to yield maximum energy savings based on your schedule. For example, it will throttle down the temperature to a more economical setting when you leave. By the time you return, your home will be just as comfortable as you left it. That’s because it learns your daily routine. Plus, you’ll have access to data showing month-over-month energy usage so that you can track your energy-saving progress. Some brands claim you can slash your electricity bill by as much as 20% when taking full advantage of energy-saving features.