You’re going to need your air conditioner this summer in the Carolinas. There’s no way around it. Running the AC almost nonstop means higher utility bills. It could mean a big expense down the line if your AC or HVAC needs repairing or replacing sooner than you’d like. There are some doable ways to manage your AC costs this coming summer – or much sooner than that around these parts.
Put in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are reasonably inexpensive and simple to install and use. One will help you save on your energy bill, so it’ll pay for itself reasonably quickly.
In short, smart thermostats conserve power by working just as efficiently while you’re gone, busy, or asleep. Some programmable thermostats can be run on apps. Some can learn your habits and make power-saving changes to settings instantly.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, smart thermostats save an owner about 10% a year in normal heat and AC costs.
If you haven’t done so, it may be time to change to a smart or programmable thermostat that can be set to adjust the temperature in your house at particular times of the day. Smart thermostats allow you to preserve a comfortable temperature in your house and a lot of them can be operated remotely.
More on Thermostat Settings
If there’s no one home throughout the day, you can about 10% on energy costs by keeping your home’s temperature 7-10 degrees higher for eight hours a day, according to the Dept. of Energy. The government recommends keeping the AC set at 78 degrees when you’re home. Do not drop the temperature a great deal if you get home after being gone most or all of the day.
About humidity, on high humidity days during the summer, set your AC system’s fan to low. What’s this meant to do? A slow fan speed will remove more humidity from the air and give you a more comfortable home while your AC works a little less.
How you set or program the thermostat is important. So that is where you put the thermostat. Mount the thermostat away from direct sunlight and away from windows or doors
Consider Cooking Changes in the Summer
This might not work every day for every meal, but consider other cooking methods during the hottest parts of the summer. The more you use your stove and oven, the warmer it makes your home and the more your AC has to run.
This doesn’t mean eating at restaurants all summer. If you have outdoor options such as a grill, that’s one thought. If you can pick recipes and meals without much actual cooking for them, that’s another idea. Using smaller appliances such as crockpots and microwaves is another idea. If you do use a range or another very hot appliance, use exhaust fans and ceiling fans.
This can go for the bathroom, with hot showers. It’s not advisable to go without showering for months but use the fan while using the shower. It can go with laundry, too, and using a clothesline to dry clothes saves a few dryer loads saves energy, and puts out less heat into the house.
Make Shade Around the House
This one might take some time to pull off, but this is worth it year-round. Shade trees shading parts of your house helps it stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
You want to pick and plant broad, leafy trees. Trees on the south and west sides of a house are best since sunlight hits a home most directly from the south, and then in the afternoons, from the west. You want to be careful planting trees too close to the foundation or septic tanks, pipes, or power lines.
Ceiling fans move air and help you feel cooler – even though the airflow isn’t actually decreasing the temperature. This is ok if it means you’re fine keeping the thermostat set slightly higher.
If you have fans, remember to use them. If you don’t have them, or need to add one to a room you spend a lot of time in, think about having them installed. Running a ceiling fan can reduce the use and wear on your AC and save power.
When possible, it’s efficient to run ceiling fans on an upper floor and crack some windows open downstairs. In an apartment or one-story home, you can run a fan and open windows far away from the fan. This circulates the most air throughout a home or apartment. Good airflow helps you feel a little cooler because more sweat is evaporated off your skin.
AC Service and Maintenance
If your AC is running at under 100%, it has to run more and even then, it might not get your home to the temperature you set. The right, consistent maintenance of your whole HVAC system is important for short- and long-term reasons.
Some upkeep is pretty simple, such as changing filters every 1-2 months, or what the specific recommendation is for your filters, system, and house. Filters in homes with pets, high dust levels, and specific allergies or health needs might need changing more often than in some homes. A dirty filter blocks the airflow and makes the whole system work more.
More pro-level maintenance includes tasks like checking and cleaning coils in the unit. Regular maintenance, or service for the first time in a long time, from a technician is always a good idea. It typically pays for itself and then some in terms of issues caught and saved before you face a major expense.
At South End Heating and Air, we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.