The summer months can take a serious toll on your utility bills if your house isn’t properly equipped to handle it
Installing certified energy saving products, a programmable thermostat and ensuring your air filters are regularly replaced can ensure your air conditioning is operating efficiently
Installing ceiling fans, sealing leaks and ensuring window shading can help keep your home cool without adding additional stress to your air conditioning system
For approximately six to eight months out of the year, Louisiana weather is a nearly intolerable combination of oppressive heat and dense humidity. While Louisiana residents are armed with a wealth of knowledge for combating the sweltering heat, their homes may be less equipped to deal with it.
With temperatures continuing to rise as summer reaches its peak, so too do local residents’ energy bills. We’ve compiled a list of simple strategies to make your home more energy efficient during the upcoming summer months.
Did you know that leaking ductwork can account for approximately 25 percent of your home’s cooling costs? It’s important to have your ductwork inspected to identify and repair any leaks. Additionally, using weather stripping and caulk to seal drafty windows and doors can also help to reduce cooling costs by keeping cold air from escaping the inside of your home.
Installing Energy Star® Products
Installing certified Energy Star® products can help to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Energy efficient light bulbs, for example, emit less heat and last longer than traditional bulbs, saving you both money and energy. It’s important to keep in mind that even with the installation of Energy Star® products, taking advantage of natural sunlight and turning off or unplugging lights and appliances when they’re not in use are both effective means of conserving energy.
Operating Programmable Thermostats
A programmable thermostat is a great way to keep your home cool while managing temperature settings when you’re not home. Programming your thermostat as high as comfortably possible during the hours when you’re not home and setting the temperature to gradually cool when you are is an effective and efficient method of saving money on cooling costs. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature, the lower your overall cooling costs will be. The nonprofit organization Alliance to Save Energy states that setting your thermostat as high as 78 degrees could reduce your costs as much as 18%, and recommends, once you do want it cool, to set it lower gradually instead of immediately setting it to your desired temperature. Doing so could cause your system to work overtime, costing you more money in the long run than cooling your house off in steps.
Using Ceiling Fans
The use of ceiling fans provides air circulation that helps to keep your home cool. This allows you to bump up your thermostat temperature a couple degrees without affecting your overall comfort level. They’re also relatively inexpensive and, if you have a little bit of electrical knowhow, can be fairly simple to install!
If you already have ceiling fans installed, keep in mind that the rotation of your fan’s blades makes a difference on how it works (and how effective it is, depending on the season). By flipping the switch at the base of the fan, you can control whether the blades move clockwise or counterclockwise. When moving counterclockwise, the fan blades rotate towards the left, and blow air downwards towards you, helping to ensure the cold air from your A/C vents is being properly distributed around your home. Clockwise, then, moves them towards the right, and blows air upwards, which can be beneficial during the wintertime for pulling cold air up and towards your ceiling, instead of keeping it down in your living space.
Replacing Air Conditioner Filters
Dirty air conditioner filters restrict airflow and cause your system to run overtime, increasing your energy use and preventing your home from cooling down. Replacing filters once a month, along with regular maintenance, will help to keep you cool and your system running efficiently. Upkeep will save you anywhere from 5-15% in energy consumption, meaning lower bills and cooler temps without the guilt.
Avoid Heat Buildup
When the temperatures outside start to rise, try to avoid activities inside the home that generate a lot of heat, such as cooking on the stovetop or using the dishwasher and/or clothes dryer. Instead, opt for grilling outside, washing dishes by hand or trying to schedule those activities in the evening when the weather is typically cooler. Making sure televisions and computers are off when you’re not using them also helps to generate less heat (and will also save you on your utilities)!
Investing in Solar Control Windows
If you have older windows in need of replacement, consider investing in solar control windows. They help to correct temperature imbalances and deflect harsh glares and damaging UV rays while reducing your overall cooling costs. Solar control window films can also be applied to your currently installed windows to improve glass insulation and effectively reject the sun’s heat.
Ensuring Maximum Window Shading
Keeping your windows and blinds closed during the middle of the day can help to prevent the sun from heating up your home, making it easier for your AC system to cool to a comfortable temperature. Additionally, installing patio covers and awnings and strategically placing trees, shrubs and vines can also help to shade your home from outside light.
Although it’s inevitable that your energy bills may rise during the peak summer months, Doug Ashy is equipped with the tools and resources you need to make your home energy efficient. Get in touch with us today and speak with one of our experts about making these simple and inexpensive adjustments to help you beat the summer heat!