With summer about to burst forth in all its sunny, searing glory, you’ll probably be relying pretty heavily on your air conditioning system as temperatures rise and the days stretch out. But like a lot of Texas homeowners, you’re probably not so fond of the potentially high energy bills that come with keeping the AC cranked in the summertime. That’s why we’ve put together this list of quick and easy tips to help you maximize your AC performance and keep your whole house cooler on even the hottest days.
Summer Windows and Windon’ts
Did you know that windows are the number one point of energy loss in your home? Air leaks, cracks in the frame, and single-pane glass can all contribute to heat gain in the summer. Replacing outdated windows, and updating your caulking and weather stripping, can help ensure you keep your AC in and Texas heat out.
You can also help improve your windows’ energy efficiency with the use of window treatments. According to the Department of Energy, blinds in a reflective color can reduce heat gain by up to 45% when they’re drawn and closed, and drapes can create insulating air pockets and block excess sunlight to help keep rooms cool. Low-e, energy-efficient window films can also help block out unwanted heat and light, but they also can occlude your view, so keep that in mind when choosing a tint for your windows.
Airflow Helps You—and Your Wallet—Breath Easier
Keep doors open on rooms you’ll be using frequently to encourage positive airflow and keep temperatures down throughout your home. This is a different approach than you might take in the winter, when you shut away rooms you don’t use to save on heating. In the summer, however, the HVAC system may actually have to work harder if you shut off rooms, since they effectively become boxes of warm air that slowly release their contents not through your HVAC system, but through tiny cracks, and leaks, and then are replaced by even warmer outside air as the air pressure normalizes. So keep those doors open and the air flowing to save money!
Investing in a few fans can help move air throughout your home, reducing the workload on your HVAC system and helping you save money. Fans can be moved for on-demand cooling, and on the rare day when the weather cooperates, can take the place of your HVAC system entirely. Look for energy-efficient models that push a lot of air without adding too much to your energy bill.
Lighten the Load
Summer gives us so many amazing opportunities to enjoy excellent weather and outdoor living. Moving some, or even most, of your cooking outdoors during the season will keep your stove or oven from raising your home’s temperature (and making your AC work harder). And when you are enjoying the great indoors, be sure to check throughout the day to make sure unused lights, appliances, and gadgets aren’t being left on. A few daily checks like this not only helps you conserve energy, but helps save wear and tear on your HVAC system.
And speaking of light, choosing light linens and interior decor can help keep your home cooler by reflecting, rather than absorbing, heat. Your home’s look will get a summer refresh, and you can beat the heat in style. If you’re thinking of repainting, choosing a neutral or light color for your interior ceilings can also help diffuse light without spreading unwanted heat.
A few small changes can have a big effect on your energy costs this summer! And the best tip, of course, is to make sure your HVAC system maintenance is up to date. Your friendly neighborhood HVAC pros can help keep your AC running smoothly all summer long, and can also evaluate your home to help you find even more ways to save money when the mercury begins to soar.