8 Tips for Efficiently Cooling Your House This Spring
Are you surprised by the electric bill at the end of the month? Even though your home hasn’t felt tremendously cooler, your electric bill is still astronomical. Some homeowners are paying hundreds of dollars each month to cool down a relatively small home. Not only are they still uncomfortable at the end of the day, but their wallets are becoming stretched too thin to cover the cost of inefficient cooling.
Each spring, you may need to take a few steps to reorganize your home for better cooling. It could mean coming up with a new floor plan or checking a few maintenance items off your to-do list. No matter what, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to efficiently cooling your home down in the warmer weather.
Need a good starting point for boosting your energy efficiency? Take a look at these top tips to make you a savvier saver.
Make sure your air returns aren’t blocked
Sometimes, the layout of a room almost forces homeowners to cover up the air vents with furniture. Rearranging the room to accommodate and open up space for the air to flow freely could mean settling for an awkward arrangement that isn’t aesthetically pleasing. The unfortunate thing is that furniture over top of your air vents is likely limiting your air conditioner’s ability to work at an optimal level.
The cold air is being absorbed by your furniture before it ever makes it into the room. Your couch and chairs may feel a lot cooler than you do if this is the case. The air in the room is still warm and the air conditioner continues to pump cold air straight into the sofa. You can minimize this problem by rearranging furniture or placing a vent cover to help redirect the air out from under the couch.
Hang thicker curtains
Do you feel like the sun is coming in through the windows and making your home feel more like a rotisserie? You can prevent some of the extra warmth by installing thicker curtains over the windows that are exposed to the most sunlight. This fabric works double-duty by keeping out the hot rays of sunshine and holding the cold air inside the house.
Install new weatherstripping around doors
Your front door could be one of the biggest culprits in your home when it comes to allowing the cold air to escape into the great outdoors. Over time, your weatherstripping may rot or move out of place. When this happens, it can no longer effectively work to seal your home. A new roll of weatherstripping is easy to apply and costs only a few dollars at the home improvement store.
Improve the quality of your windows and doors
The entry points to your home might need to be upgraded if you want to get serious about slashing your monthly cooling costs. Particularly if you live in an older home, your windows and entry doors could be too drafty to allow your unit to function effectively. Be certain to look for windows and doors that specifically claim to be energy efficient or have an Energy Star seal. These can help to hold the chilled air inside your home more effectively while reducing the amount of outdoor air seeping in.
Raise the temperature
It may sound like common sense, but raising the temperature in your home can do wonders for your electric bill. Think about how much time you likely spend away from your home during the day during the work week. Your air conditioning unit continues to work hard during this time, but no one is around to reap the benefits. A programmable thermostat can help you to manage the temperatures in your home on a more consistent basis.
The best idea is to set the thermostat seven degrees higher during the day for eight hours and four degrees higher at night. During these times, you’re either not around or are unconscious. This one simple action can save you up to $180 annually, according to Energy Star.
Perform routine maintenance on the unit
Taking care of your air conditioning unit can go a long way toward helping to boost your overall energy efficiency. You should be investing in maintaining your unit at least once per year. During this time, a qualified technician will come out to your home to inspect the unit for any necessary repairs, check the refrigerant levels, inspect the ductwork, and more.
They may be able to make recommendations for more intensive work that could be done to improve your energy efficiency. For example, sealing the ductwork could be helpful in an older home or one that doesn’t have much insulation surrounding the ducts. Someone with a little bit of do-it-yourself initiative and knowledge may be able to do this completely on their own. Modifications like these could save you up to twenty percent on your monthly bills.
Change the air filter
If you sign up for annual maintenance, your air conditioning technician can also help to remind you of any routine maintenance tasks that haven’t been completed. This may be your reminder to start changing the air filters on the unit, for example. When your airflow isn’t restricted through a dirty or clogged air filter, you will allow the unit to run much more efficiently in the process.
The air conditioner will have to run twice as hard to pump cool air into your home through this buildup. It can be relatively inexpensive to change these filters every sixty to ninety days, but the cost savings could be substantial in the long run. Clean filters have the potential to lower your monthly cooling costs and prevent unnecessary wear and tear on the unit.
Don’t touch the thermostat to cool the house down faster
Sometimes, homeowners are tempted to move their thermostat to extremely low temperatures in a desperate attempt to cool down their living spaces. Unfortunately, this move tends to backfire when the air conditioning unit can’t keep up with the demands. It may pump in a lot of cold air at one time, but it isn’t going to thoroughly cool the room down.
Leaving the thermostat at a consistent temperature during the times you are home is your best option. This allows the unit to cool down the entire structure and remove humidity from the air. Your furniture, walls, and the air in between can all be more comfortable when the air conditioner has enough time to do its work effectively instead of being rushed along.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home is easy to do when you know the first steps to take. Keep in mind that it may eventually be time to replace your entire air conditioning unit with a more energy-efficient and powerful model. If your unit has made it past its tenth birthday, this may be something you need to start considering so you can plan ahead.