March 23, 2016

According to the US Department of Energy, 43% of the average American homeowner’s utility bill comes from heating and air conditioning. You know firsthand how expensive it can be to keep your house cool during the hot summer months. But how do you lower your utility bill while avoiding the sticky, uncomfortable heat of July and August?

Below are five tips that can help you lower your energy bill, improve your air conditioner’s efficiency, and keep your home cool all summer long.

Get an AC Checkup

If your utility bill is astronomically high, the technology keeping your home cool may be outdated or broken. You might just need to replace your AC-according to the US Department of Energy, doing so could cut your energy bill in half.

Your local AC expert can take a look at your air conditioning and determine if you have an expensive problem. The issue may be something as simple as the need for a clean filter. Your HVAC specialist can also spot issues before they occur and may recommend a new or renovated system to keep your home cool and costs low.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you keep your home the same temperature at all times this summer, you’re practically throwing money away. When you’re out of the house, sleeping, or spending time in a cooler part of the house (like the basement), you can raise the thermostat in your home by a few degrees. Doing so saves you lots of money in the long run.

A programmable thermostat allows you to create a schedule for your air conditioner. For example, if you and your family are out of the house between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day, you can program the thermostat to raise your home’s temperature while you’re gone and lower the temperature just before you get home.

The US Department of Energy reports that if you raise the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours each day (either when you’re asleep or out of the house), you can save about 15% on your AC bill each year. The savings aren’t imaginary, and with a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for cost. Your HVAC specialist can install a new programmable thermostat.

Clean the Vents

If the airflow in your home is restricted by debris or a clogged filter in your vents, your AC has to work much harder to keep your house cool. And because so much air moves through your vents each year, it is easier than you might think for your vents to become clogged.

You should have your vents professionally cleaned about once a year if you’re serious about cutting back on your utility bill. This small expense has a large return on investment because your AC immediately becomes more efficient and effective.

Clean vents don’t just ensure that your air conditioner functions properly and your home gets cooler faster-it also improves the air quality in your home and keeps you and your family healthier. Hay fever and other allergies are the cause of more illness than we might realize, and clean vents ensure fresh, healthy air in your home. At the very least, replace the filters in your AC once a month.

Open the Vents

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many homeowners leave vents closed. Closing vents raises your energy costs because, like a clogged or dirty vent, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home if a vent is blocked. Even if you didn’t personally close a vent, that doesn’t mean the vent hasn’t shut over time, so check each of the vents in your home.

Improved airflow in your home will make it easier for your air conditioner to reach the target temperature in each room. An air conditioner has quite a complex job-it has to maintain the right temperature in each room, which can be quite difficult unless you live in a very small space. Open vents make it easier for your AC to cool one room without over-chilling another.

Circulate Air

In the summer, the outdoor heat sneaks into your home and makes your house uncomfortable and humid. Heat rises, so you want to push the heat up and out of your home. Well-placed fans will help your air conditioner move the heat out of your home.

You don’t need expensive, high-powered fans to get the job done. A few standing fans placed in strategic areas of your home can ensure that the air circulates through your home. Circulating the air helps move trapped hot air into areas where it can be pushed back out into open air.

If you have any questions about where to place the fans, ask your HVAC expert when he or she visits for inspection.

Want to learn more about how to lower your energy bill this summer? Speak with your HVAC specialist today to schedule an inspection, have a programmable thermostat installed, or learn more great tips for a cooler home.

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