It costs homeowners $11 billion a year to power their air conditioners. As temperatures rise, it can be tempting to blast the air conditioner all day, every day.
We know that crisp air feels delicious in the summertime, but this move could cost you hundreds of additional dollars. Instead of choosing between spending a lot of money or being toasty all summer long, take some proactive steps to keep your home cooler.
1. Block Out Some Sun
You may view achieving natural light at home as the gold standard, but that gorgeous sun isn’t doing your energy bills any favors. About 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.
Choose window treatments that block out sunlight, such as:
- Exterior window shutters and shades
- UV blocking window films (these help keep out heat while still letting some light in)
- Window screens
- Reflective window blinds
- Blackout curtains and drapes
2. Improve Insulation in Your Home
There’s no use in pumping cold air into your home if it’s able to easily escape. Research and consider having a home energy audit performed if you suspect your home is letting precious cold air escape.
Simple steps to remedy this may include caulking and weather stripping around your windows and doors. Addressing some of these issues may cost money, but should save you money in the long term.
Also, be sure to pay attention to any federal, state, or local tax credits for using high efficiency products and materials.
3. Maintain Your Equipment
To keep your A/C working as efficiently as possible, and get the most bang for your buck, don’t neglect routine maintenance.
Energy.gov has a great guide to Maintaining Your Air Conditioner, and their suggestions include:
- Routinely replacing or cleaning the filter. This is considered the “most important maintenance task.” This is even more important if you have a furry pet who sheds!
- Keep your air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil clean. If you have an outdoor condenser coil, clean away any debris, like grass clippings and fallen leaves, and trim foliage back at least 2 feet to allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
You can probably handle most routine maintenance yourself. If you suspect your system needs more complex work, hire an expert.
4. Avoid Indoor Cooking
When possible, avoid using the stove or oven when it’s especially hot. This type of cooking creates a ton of heat, and it can take a toll on your air conditioner.
Planning and preparing meals in advance can be very helpful, especially if you can manage to do so in the evening or on a cooler day. Take advantage of the summertime to fire up the grill and do some outdoor cooking. Or, go with cooking devices that generate less heat, like a microwave or a crockpot.
If you have to cook, use indoor fans to keep you cool and push away the hot air.
5. Watch Doors and Windows
Don’t leave doors or windows open while you have the air conditioner on. This is common knowledge, but in our hectic day-to-day routines, mistakes can happen.
Don’t want to take on the role of door/window monitor? Consider monitored door and window sensors. Motion sensors are part of any good home security systems, and they can do more than just alert you to intruders. Set them to notify you whenever they are open — or when they shouldn’t be open — to cut back on the amount of cool air escaping or warm air seeping in.
6. Adjust Your Temperature
Think about how it feels to walk into a sweltering-hot house. Your first instinct is to crank up the A/C way higher than normal.
According to the Department of Energy, this is a mistake. Turning the air way up won’t cool your home any faster, and might even result in unnecessary expenses. Also, cooler isn’t always better. Try to keep the gap between the actual temperature outdoors and the temperature indoors as small as possible. Keeping a higher temperature inside will slow the flow of heat into your home, saving energy on expensive air conditioning.
Another common mistake — setting your thermostat to just one temperature and forgetting about it. When it comes to energy efficiency, small adjustments can make a big impact. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. So when your schedule changes or the weather changes, make changes to the your thermostat.
Remember, we’re not suggesting you post up at your thermostat 24/7. As everyone’s Dad knows, micromanaging the temperature is fun for no one. Instead, aim to make those temperature tweaks during 8-hour blocks of time, or longer (while you sleep, while at work, while traveling, etc.). The goal is to keep your thermostat as high as possible, without making yourself uncomfortable and still keeping humidity under control.
Tip: The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you are home in the summer. When your house is empty, you can bump it up to 88°F to conserve energy.
To stay on track, we recommend some sort of programmable thermostat. Or better yet, a smart thermostat.
7. Get a Smart Thermostat
Investing in a smart thermostat lets you control heating and cooling more efficiently than ever, maximizing your energy saving opportunities.
So, what is a smart thermostat and how does it work? Smart thermostats are home automation devices that monitor and regulate your home’s temperature. Because it’s connected to both the internet and your HVAC system, you can control it from anywhere.
Guardian Protection’s smart thermostats are completely integrated with its professionally monitored, professionally installed security systems. For example, if it’s helpful to have your thermostat automatically shift down to an energy-saving level when you arm your security system, just set up a rule. Do you keep a pretty consistent schedule? Program how your want your thermostat to respond to that schedule from your MyGuardianHome account.
Plus, you can adjust the temperature right from your smartphone, you don’t ever have to come home to that muggy house we mentioned earlier.
Get smart and energy efficient
A home security system that includes home automation devices like smart thermostats may help you lower energy costs — not to mention making life safer and easier. Guardian can help.
Learn more about our smart home security solutions here.