In Austin, TX, every homeowner knows that air conditioning is essential to surviving the summer. However, with increased air conditioner use comes increased monthly electric bills. That leaves some owners in the position of choosing between their comfort and their wallet. Here are six great ways to keep your home cool for less this summer.
1. Get an AC Tune-up
The first thing all homeowners should do before the summer heat sets in is to schedule an AC tune-up appointment. Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to save money on your AC-related electric bills. Tune-ups help to ensure your AC operates at peak efficiency during the season of peak use. During a maintenance appointment, an HVAC technician will check your AC’s major components. This includes its air filter and refrigerant levels. They’ll make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you get the most comfort possible for your money.
2. Install Ceiling Fans
The next thing you can do to rein in summertime cooling costs is to reduce your dependence on your AC. For that, ceiling fans make a perfect addition to your home. The reason is that it’s much cheaper to run ceiling fans than an air conditioner. And because a nice breeze makes you feel cooler than the air temperature would suggest, running ceiling fans should let you raise your thermostat by a few degrees. When you consider that you can save 3% for every degree above 72 that you raise your thermostat, your savings will add up fast.
3. Close Your Shades and Curtains During the Day
While sun streaming through the windows looks nice, it will also substantially increase your home’s temperature. That increases the heat load your AC has to contend with and increases its operating costs. So, it’s a good idea to keep your home’s shades and curtains closed during the day. If you have any especially sunny windows, you may want to purchase heat-blocking curtains, which prevent even more solar heat from entering your home. This works well because a sunny, unshaded window can add as much as 120 BTUs of heat to your home every hour. So, the more of it you can block, the better. If you have the room, consider planting trees that will grow tall enough to shade the south side of the house.
4. Have More Cookouts
Another thing you can do to keep your home cool for less is to avoid cooking in your kitchen as much as you can. Ovens and stoves can increase the heat loads in your kitchen more than you think. In the summer, you should have as many barbecues and cookouts as possible instead. This eliminates much of the heat your kitchen would otherwise contribute to your home. That, in turn, reduces the load on your home’s AC and cuts your electrical costs correspondingly.
5. Install a Smart Thermostat
Sometimes, you have to spend some money to save some money. By installing a smart thermostat, you can give your home’s AC an inexpensive efficiency upgrade. According to the Department of Energy, a smart thermostat can cut your cooling costs by 8% without forcing you to sacrifice any comfort. Some of the more advanced models will save you even more. They accomplish this by learning your habits and comfort needs and figuring out an efficient AC usage pattern to meet them.
6. Upgrade to a More Efficient AC
If you’ve done everything listed here and your electric bills are still higher than you’d like them to be, you can always upgrade to a more efficient AC system. If your home’s central air conditioner is over 10 years old, there’s a good chance that it’s substantially less efficient than today’s models. Installing a new AC should cut your cooling costs substantially.
If you don’t have ductwork in your home, you can add a ductless mini-split system. Mini-splits allow you to restrict your AC use to only the rooms you’re using, which will lower your costs to just the bare minimum.
Your Expert AC Team
Since 1982, Totally Cool Heating & Air has offered reliable and affordable HVAC services to the Austin, TX, area. Energy efficiency is one of our specialties, so we’re well-equipped to help you find ways to stay cool for less money this summer. Plus, we offer complete HVAC services, including installation, maintenance, and repair, in addition to installing solar screens and insulation to further cut your energy costs.
For all of your summer AC efficiency needs and more, call the experts at Totally Cool Heating & Air today!