There’s really nothing better than when the weather warms up after a long winter and you get to spend time in the sunshine, maybe at the beach with friends, in the park with family, or even just in your own backyard. But most people are likely to agree that there’s a fine line between comfortable summer weather and stifling hot summer weather — and when you end up having more of those stifling hot summer days, you probably spend more time cooped up inside your air conditioned house or office than anywhere else.
The results aren’t surprising: you crank up the AC, you’re comfortable and happy, and then you get your energy bill and all of that happiness just disappears. Sometimes there really isn’t any other option than to turn the AC on full blast, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight or tends to be very humid. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that you end up spending a lot of money keeping your home cool during the hottest summer months, isn’t it?
Some people will just learn to live with the heat and the humidity rather than pay an exorbitant energy bill, but you don’t have to go to these extremes. There are actually plenty of ways that you can save money while staying cool during the summer (i.e., without giving up your air conditioner), including many affordable and simple tricks that you can try on your own:
- If a room tends to get a lot of direct sunlight, pull the curtains or blinds down during the day
This tip is a simple one, especially if your house is empty during the day anyway. By covering your windows with heavy curtains, you’ll be able to block out a lot of that direct sunlight which contributes — more than you probably realize — to the temperature in your entire house. Many homeowners have even begun purchasing special mesh window screens that absorb solar heat without diminishing the natural light too much.
- Clean out the ducts in your HVAC system, dust out all the vent openings, and change the filter
No matter how frequently or infrequently you use your HVAC system, dust and dirt will naturally collect in the ductwork, the vents, and in the filter. When these airways are blocked with too much debris, your air conditioner ends up working overtime just to push cool air into your house. Nearly every heating and air conditioning repair service will be able to clean out the ducts for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
- Install a high-efficiency air conditioning unit
This is a bit of an investment, but keep in mind that it will definitely pay off in the end. Experts estimate that high-efficiency air conditioners can reduce energy consumption by anywhere between 20% and 50% — and that can mean a huge decrease in your summer energy bill. There are many different brands of AC units and different styles that operate best in certain homes, so it’s always a good idea to consult a commercial air conditioning repair service to make sure that you purchase the best system for your home. ENERGY STAR central air conditioning systems, for example, are typically 15% more efficient than traditional AC units; when you combine an energy-efficient unit with other energy-saving habits, you’ll probably find that your savings are even higher.
- Take care of regular maintenance tasks around your home — even if they seem to have nothing to do with air conditioning repair
You’d be surprised by how much heat/cool air is lost, and how much extra money you pay because of it, when your home is in rough condition; everything from poor insulation to years-old water damage can affect how well your home retains heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
- Call in an air conditioning repair service for a system assessment, cleaning, and possible equipment replacements
Even though about two-thirds of all homes in the U.S. have air conditioners, only around 42% of homeowners call in a professional service for regular air conditioning repairs and cleaning. If equipment is older than 15 years, experts typically recommend that these parts be replaced, simply because they can’t last forever and they’re more likely to operate less efficiently as the years go on. Even if your HVAC system is just a few years old and nothing needs to be replaced, it’s best to take preventative measures, like calling in an air conditioning repair service for a regular cleaning; this ends up extending the life of your entire HVAC system, it ensures that the system is operating properly and safely, and if there is a problem, you’ll be able to catch it and fix it before it becomes dangerous and expensive.
- Know the difference between heat and humidity — and try to eliminate that humidity whenever possible. Some areas are naturally more humid than others and there’s nothing you can do about it; unfortunately, the extra humidity makes summer heat feel even stickier and heavier, and it’s one of the top reasons why homeowners just switch on the AC without even thinking. There are actually a couple ways you can combat humidity without using up even more energy: first — and this was stated earlier, but it’s still important — make sure that your HVAC system is clean and that dust hasn’t accumulated in the ductwork, as this can cause the humidity levels in your home to rise. Second, simply turning on a fan and getting some air circulation will allow the sweat from skin to evaporate faster, which means that your body will cool down faster and you’ll feel less sticky (and less likely to turn up the AC again).
It may not be easy to stay cool without wasting your money when the weather really heats up this summer, but remember that there are plenty of little tips and tricks that you can try out to see what works for your home — and any good heating and air conditioning company will have plenty tips beyond what’s listed here.
In fact, it’s possible that you might even have some great tips on how to save money this summer. We’d love to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to visit the comments section below and shoot us a quick message!