Now that we are spending more time at home (thanks to COVID-19), we may start wondering about the cost of operating our heating and air conditioning systems nearly continuously, especially with warmer weather right around the bend. While we can’t control the temperature outside, there are things we can do to make our homes cooler and minimize air conditioning costs at the same time. Keep these tips in your back pocket for the upcoming days of warmer temperatures and make sure to check out our additional resources for even more cost-effective tips.
Tip #1: Dress your windows
According to the US Department of Energy, during cooling seasons, about 76% of sunlight enters your windows in the form of heat driving up the temperature in your home. Window shades/blinds or light-blocking curtains are a great way to curtail the impact of the heat on the temperature of your home. Keeping them closed during the hottest part of the day can help lower the temperature in the home. If you take note of the direction your windows face and close the curtains accordingly – you can keep out significant amounts of additional heat.
Tip #2: Keep it down low
As we all know, heat rises – so spending most of your time on the lower floor of your home is a good way to avoid the heat if you live in a multi-story home. Make sure that you leave the interior doors open upstairs, and keep upstairs vents open to allow the maximum amount of cool airflow to keep upstairs more comfortable.
Tip #3: Avoid using the oven and stove
You’d be surprised how much heat cooking on the stovetop or baking in the oven generates in your home. Reduce indoor heat by cooking in the microwave, firing up the grill outside, or getting creative with more chilled foods, like salads and fruit-based dishes.
If you do find that you want to use the oven or stove, try to do so in the evening. Then, when you’re done, turn on the kitchen exhaust fan to help the heat and cooking odors dissipate.
Tip #4: Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans help to circulate cool air throughout your home. This is especially true during the time when you don’t quite need a/c, so your ceiling fans can help you avoid using your air conditioning system unnecessarily. If you have existing ceiling fans, we recommend you put them to work. If you don’t have them, you may consider installing them throughout the home to add comfort options and increase energy efficiency.
Tip #5: Grow air-purifying plants
Humidity levels can impact health and comfort. Too low humidity levels can increase susceptibility to sinus congestion while higher humidity levels can lead to excess moisture in your indoor environment. A natural way to enhance indoor air quality and help keep your home comfortable at the same time is to enjoy more house plants.
Plants can help regulate indoor humidity while leaving the air around them cleaner and fresher. Adding a few house plants is a quick and attractive way to boost comfort and help establish healthy humidity levels. According to a study from the University of Vermont, plants have been able to cool down the temperature in a room by as much as 10 degrees.
Tip #6: Maintain your air conditioning system
Having a reputable contractor (like MSCO) regularly service your air conditioner can ensure that your system continues operating at peak efficiency. HVAC problems that go undetected can cause other issues such as higher electric bills. Your service technician will make certain that the entire system is operating as it should by performing your regular maintenance.