The National Weather Service is predicting higher-than-average temperatures for much of the country this summer, and meteorologists are predicting high summer humidity and precipitation due to climate change and other factors, including the potential for early tropical storms.
When it gets hot and muggy outside this summer, your home is your refuge, especially if you have central air-conditioning. To save money and help preserve our precious natural resources, here are a few things you can do to keep energy bills to a minimum while still enjoying the great indoors.
Get your air conditioner tuned up for the summer heat. Your HVAC technician will clean your system, perform preventative maintenance, ensure proper fluid levels and take other steps to optimize energy efficiency and prevent sudden breakdowns.
Seal and insulate where it is most needed. To find air leaks and poor or nonexistent insulation, consider a professional energy audit. A technician will use infrared heat mapping to pinpoint your home’s thermal weak spots.
Keep your vents clear. Your air conditioner can’t work efficiently if your vents are blocked by rugs or furniture, and make sure your vents are free of dust.
If the sun beams your home through numerous windows, keep the shades and blinds drawn on sun-facing windows. This is essential to keeping your home cool and comfortable.
Use ceiling fans and pedestal fans, which allow you to raise your thermostat up to four degrees without any reduction in comfort. And make sure your ceiling fans are turning counterclockwise for the summer.
Upgrade to a smart thermostat. The latest thermostats can be controlled from anywhere with the tap of a smartphone, making it easy to cool your home in the summer and warm things up during the winter.
You can also save money by using your microwave and outdoor grill more often, which helps make your air conditioner’s job easier.
Curb daytime use of big appliances, such as dryers and dishwashers. If you can wait until after dark to run these appliances, your air conditioner isn’t fighting too many battles at once.
Upgrade to LED light bulbs, which are more affordable than the old bulbs, and LED lighting also stays cool to the touch. You can upgrade all the light bulbs over the course of several weeks to make it even more affordable.
Plan for window upgrades, which are very costly by most standards, but by doing so, you will be paid back over time in energy efficiency, comfort, and much lower energy bills.
So if this summer is a hot one as predicted by the media and others, these tips can save you money and you will beat the heat without breaking the bank.