Heating and cooling your home uses the most energy and costs more than any system in your home by far – 54% of your utility bill according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In the hot and humid Virginia summer months, your utility bill could get pretty inflated with your air conditioner running full time.
How can you get those costs down to manageable levels and still stay cool? We’ve got some tips that will help and some of them are super easy and cheap. Others might be more expensive initially but will pay off in the long run.
Shut the Door
Leaving the doors open and letting in the outside heat is going to make your unit work harder and cost you more. Also, close doors to unused rooms in your house and don’t waste energy on empty space. That way you concentrate the cool air in the rooms where you really need it.
Close Drapes and Blinds to Stay Cool
No, we don’t mean that you need to hide from your neighbors! Close the curtains and let down the blinds. Heavier drapes will keep the direct sunlight out and help keep your house cool.
Moderate the Thermostat When You’re Not Home
In hot weather, turn the thermostat up to a moderate temperature when you’re out to cut down air con energy consumption. And turn it down in cooler weather to save on heating. According to Good Housekeeping, setting your thermostat to 78 degrees will give you the best energy savings. If you take a summer vacation, turn off the system and save even more.
Invest in Some Tech
With the new smart thermostats, you can control your home’s temperature with an app even when you’re not there. If you forget to turn the thermostat off when rushing out, you’ll be able to do it remotely through a phone app. You can also regulate temperatures by setting times to turn on/off or lower/raise the thermostat, which could save you even more money.
Business Insider Magazine, May 2019 says these new energy-saving smart thermostats can lower your energy bills by upward of 20%, which really is pretty amazing. BI rates the Energy Star certified Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation best overall. It’s also got excellent reviews and ratings on Amazon, CNET, and PCMag.
A Low Tech Option
Ceiling fans may seem old-fashioned compared to today’s gadgets, but they can still help. Even a small table fan will do if your place is not large. By mixing hot air, which rises up, with the lower cool air in the room, ceiling fans can make you feel cooler. When you feel cooler, you can save by keeping the AC at a more median temperature.
Check the Sealing of Your Windows and Doors or Install Energy-Efficient Windows
If you followed our first tip, you’re keeping your doors closed. But if doors and windows aren’t properly sealing when closed, you’re still letting the heat in. Use quality weather stripping to keep the cool in. Other areas to check for air leaks are ceilings (dirty spots could be markers of leaks), chimneys, recessed lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and electrical outlets and switches. You can test for leaks yourself by using a candle or an incense stick on a windy day. Move around the house and check if the smoke starts moving horizontally in any area.
Do You Need Zoning?
If you have a large or multi-story home or family members with divergent temperature preferences, you should consider a zoned HVAC system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, system zoning can save up to 30% on your utility bills and is estimated to cover the cost of installation in two to five years. From sampled listings on Angie’s List, a zoned HVAC installation in a two-story house, one upstairs and one down, costs roughly $2,500.
Have a Good Old Virginia Barbeque!
We’ve saved the best for last! Treat yourself and your family to a great meal and save money while doing it. Cooking indoors on your stove or oven heats up the house and your AC works harder to keep the temperature down. Spend some quality time cooking outdoors and give your air conditioner a break.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner to Ensure Efficiency
An annual maintenance visit from your local HVAC professional will not only ensure that your system continues to run efficiently, but it will also extend the life of your unit and likely save costs by identifying emergent issues before they get out of hand. Your AC maintenance service will include examining refrigerant lines, cleaning the vents, changing air filters, inspecting and cleaning wiring, ducts, and other elements of your system.
Keep Your AC in Shape! | Northern Virginia & DC Air Con Repair
Keep cool in the summer heat and humidity of Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland. DM Select Services offers emergency services 7 days a week. Our team is on-call to consult and fix every air conditioning issue – just call (703) 721-4844. Better yet, call us before there’s a problem and get a maintenance check and service.