Things are about to get hot and humid in Virginia, which means your HVAC system will be working overtime. You want to keep your family comfortable over the summer months, but you’re probably already dreading the higher energy bill!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to beat the heat and protect your wallet this year. Interested? Here are five ways to save on your cooling costs this summer so you can put your money towards better things like that trip to the beach or a theme park!
Ceiling Fans or Circulating Fans
It might seem a little old school, but using a fan can really help circulate the air. Of course, they don’t actually cool anything, but by simulating wind, heat is pulled away from our bodies, leaving us feeling more comfortable.
Best of all, fans improve efficiency. Not only can you cut back on using your air conditioning but, when you do use it, fans will help spread the coolness throughout your home. Just be sure to turn them off when you leave the room to avoid wasting electricity.
Create a Cross Breeze
When possible, consider opening the windows in your home to create cross ventilation. You can accomplish this by opening two or more windows, even within the same room. This will help the air circulate and make things “breezy.”
Overnight, when things cool down, this can really help bring down the temperature in your home, especially when combined with well-placed fans. Of course, if you suffer from seasonal outdoor allergies, use caution when keeping windows open for extended periods of time.
Use Your AC Wisely
You might be tempted to create the chilliest atmosphere possible during the hot months, but increasing your settings by just a couple degrees can make a major difference. In fact, if you’re able to tolerate some heat and set your thermostat above 75ºF, you could save between 10-15% on your energy costs!
While turning off the A/C when you’re not using it will give you the most savings, Virginia gets pretty hot and you probably don’t want to come home to a sauna. Instead of shutting down the air conditioning entirely, setting the temperature around 80ºF is almost as good when you’re away. Use a programmable thermostat to help keep things regulated so that you don’t even have to think about it.
Windows and Shade
When the skies are blue and the sun is shining, having a great view of the outdoors can be a mood boost. Unfortunately, it can also boost the temperature inside your home! Investing in light-colored, heat-blocking, and highly reflective window coverings can dramatically reduce the effects of the sun’s scorching rays, reducing your dependency on your home’s cooling system.
Additionally, planting trees and shrubs around windows can also help provide coverage. They will absorb some of the heat and keep it from entering your home. Also consider providing some shade to your HVAC unit’s outside components to protect it from the elements, decrease overheating, and improve efficiency.
One of the best things about holiday baking is that it provides added warmth during the cooler months — which is exactly why you should avoid using your oven in the summer! In fact, many things can increase heat inside your home including cooking on the stovetop, using the dishwasher, and even heavy use of electronics.
Take advantage of the clear skies and move your meal prep outdoors. Whether it’s hamburgers or a veggie medley, many things can be prepared on a grill. While you’re out there, hang your clothes out on a line to give your heat-producing dryer a break!
Regular HVAC Maintenance
Of course, the most important way to save money on your cooling costs this summer is to make sure your HVAC system is running optimally. You can have a great air conditioner and the newest programmable thermostat, but if your unit isn’t properly cared for, you won’t reap the full benefits. Here are a few tips to make sure your system is all set for summer:
- Replace air conditioner filters once a month
- Keep floor registers clear and clean
- Remove dirt and debris from outdoor components including the evaporator and condenser coils
- Have insulation and ductwork inspected
Having regular problems with your cooling system? If your HVAC unit is more than 10 years old, it might be time for a replacement. It’s an investment, but paying for ongoing repairs can really add up — especially those emergency calls!
W.G. Speeks — Your Cooling Experts
Have questions? Our NATE-certified technicians will provide a free consultation and provide guidance based on your specific needs. Whether you need suggestions on air filters or are looking into a new air conditioning unit, we’ll help you navigate the process. After all, we’ve been keeping the Greater Richmond-area cool for more than 75 years. We’re here to help. Contact W.G. Speeks today!