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It’s estimated that half of the average household’s $2,200 spent on energy bills annually comes from heating and cooling costs. And now that summer is in full swing, it’s no surprise that many homeowners across the country have their air conditioning units on full blast. But as homeowners beat the heat, they can also beat some of the costs associated with home cooling. Here’s a look at some summer maintenance tips to stay comfortable while keeping energy bills down:
- Change the air filter: Air filters should be changed (or cleaned, if applicable) at least once a year. For optimum performance and energy efficiency, however, consider changing the filter once a month. Doing so can reduce energy consumption by a whopping 15 percent.
- Close unused ducts: Closing ducts off in seldom used rooms and finished basements (where it’s already likely comfortable) can go a long way in reducing energy consumption.
- Smart or programmable thermostat: Investing in a smart or programmable thermostat can help save energy by conserving household temperatures during periods of the day while you’re away. Many of these thermostats also allow users to program them from mobile phones. It’s estimated that cooling costs can increase by up to 8 percent for each degree you lower your thermostat, so this investment could pay off big time in terms of staying energy efficient.
- Strategic landscaping: The sun’s hottest rays typically enter through south facing windows. And if they have a clear line into your home, they can really heat it up. To combat this, consider planting trees or shrubs to shade these areas of the house and lessen the strain on your AC unit.
- Limit exhaust fan use: Exhaust fans are typically present in the kitchen and bathrooms of the home. And while they serve a purpose, they can also “exhaust” the home of cool air, causing the AC unit to work harder to repopulate it. So minimize the use of these fans to save on energy costs.
Finally, perhaps the best way to keep your energy bills down in the summer is to call in a professional to inspect your AC unit in the spring. A professional HVAC technician will clear the drain, clean the outdoor and indoor units and make sure that everything is running up to speed. An AC check-up usually costs less than $100 and can wind up saving you hundreds in summer cooling costs.
Learn invaluable skills for a fulfilling career as a HVAC mechanic at Vatterott College.