So you’re getting ready to turn the air conditioning on — if you haven’t already — and you’re concerned about your energy bills. Fortunately, keeping your home cool this summer doesn’t have to bankrupt you. By following these simple tips, you can take charge of your energy bills and have the cash you need to enjoy summertime pleasures. Schedule maintenance: By now, you should have had your air conditioner tuned up. During the annual tune-up, your expert HVAC tech checks all components, along with the refrigerant, and addresses any problems before they become major issues. This tune-up helps to maximize the efficiency of your A/C.
- Check the air filter: Your HVAC tech changes the filter when he does your tune-up. After that, you should check the filter every month and change it whenever it looks dirty.
- Close your blinds or drapes: Doing this at least during the hottest part of the day helps to prevent heat gain.
- Use appliances intelligently: Heat-producing appliances make your air conditioner work harder. Try to use your microwave instead of the range. Avoid baking during the hottest part of the day. Don’t use your dryer during the hottest part of the day, either.
- Get a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one: Program the thermostat to go up a few degrees when you’re working and down a few degrees shortly before you arrive home. Most programmable thermostats also have a vacation feature, which allows you to lower the temperature for an extended time.
- Use fans: Circulating air makes you feel cooler, so you may be able to raise the temperature a degree or two.
- Beware of energy vampires: Did you know that gadgets like cellphone chargers draw energy when you leave them plugged into an outlet? Unplugging your chargers and using power strips can lower your monthly electricity bill.
- Boost your insulation: Have your HVAC professional evaluate your home’s insulation level. It could be that you need more, especially in the attic, which can radiate heat into your living space in the summer.