Don’t Sweat Your AC Costs This Summer
Summer is here and, contrary to most of the year in Minnesota, it’s hot. Avoid an unexpected jump in your utility costs with these simple tips.
First things first, it’s crucial to perform regular maintenance on your air conditioning unit. This includes changing the filter; failing to do this can block airflow and make your unit work even harder. A unit’s evaporator and condenser coils should also be kept clear. Just like most things in life, when things are maintenanced everything will run more efficiently.
Spend more time outside. Minimize the use of your oven, microwave and other heat-heavy appliances. Take advantage of the weather, flip some burgers on the grill instead. Wait until dark to shower and bathe, as well as using the dishwasher and dryer. If time allows, consider hanging your clothes to dry.
While you’re outside… Place your air conditioning unit in a shady area. Try planting leafy trees around the outside of your home, especially along the south and west areas of your yard. Using trees or shrubs to help block the sun and shade your air conditioner can increase its efficiency by up to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Just make sure you keep foliage clipped so that it always remains at least 2 feet from the condenser.
Cool your home when it counts. Why cool your home when you aren’t there? There are proven benefits to installing a thermostat that allows for programming. Plus, get the most out of the cool air by pushing it around. A ceiling fan helps disperse cooled air more efficiently, making you feel a few degrees cooler. “Setting your AC as high as comfortably possible and using a programmable thermostat to increase temperature when you’re out, or asleep, could easily decrease your summer cooling bill by 10%,” Christina Kielich, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Energy says.
Speaking of being away from home… While you are away, keep shades drawn. Install reflective window tint on windows that get a lot of sun to minimize heat absorption. Consider purchasing Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains to keep the heat out and the cool air inside. Make sure you insulate ductwork in attics, crawlspaces, garages and other unconditioned spaces.
Be smart about lighting. Forget the incandescent light bulbs, switch them out for CFL or LED bulbs. Also keep your thermostat clear of any lamps to avoid heating up the sensor and running your air conditioner more than needed. Of course, turn off the lights when you’re leaving a room.
There’s no need to sweat this summer. Beat the heat, test out some of our tips.