During the dog days of summer, all you want is to feel a blast of cool air on your face when you walk indoors. If your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently, you won’t get that sweet relief from the summer heat. Instead, you’ll end up paying more on your bills for insufficient cooling.
To prevent high costs and inefficient cooling, the most important thing to do is schedule regular maintenance for your air conditioner — ideally before the hottest months of the year. Follow these tips for AC use in summer to keep your house cool and energy-efficient.
Tips to Maximize Air Conditioner Use
Air conditioners are powerful machines, but they can be sensitive to the environment. Neglected minor maintenance tasks can build up to cause more issues and repairs. Get ahead of any possible problems this summer by implementing these tips to maximize your summer AC use:
1. Close Windows and Doors
Ensure all windows and doors in your home close and latch properly. Air can escape through the smallest openings, so even if you’re keeping your windows and doors shut as much as possible, leaks and cracks can impact your air conditioning system’s efficiency. Caulk, weatherstripping and insulation can all help keep your home more efficient in the summer and winter.
2. Install Window Coverings or Shades
If you don’t have the benefit of big trees shading your home, your house could be in full sun from dawn until dusk. Windows are vulnerable places where your home can absorb heat. You can install window coverings such as shades over your windows to provide extra protection from the sun and keep heat from entering your home. Another option is window tints that block heat and light from entering through the windows.
3. Use the Thermostat Efficiently
A programmable thermostat is one of the best things to increase efficiency in AC use this summer. With these thermostats, you can program certain temperature settings throughout the day so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard for all 24 hours. Having the temperature set at as high as is comfortable can save you money and your HVAC system undue stress.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save 10% on their cooling costs by setting their thermostat 7-10 degrees hotter for 8 hours per day. So, while you’re at work, bump up the temperature in your home so your AC unit isn’t cooling an empty house. If you have pets and are worried about their comfort during the day, keep a fan on so they can cool themselves when they need it.
4. Turn on an Additional Fan
Remember this mantra — fans cool people, not rooms. To save energy in your home, turn off fans when you leave the room since they don’t function to cool off rooms. However, while you’re home, it can be a great idea to add extra movement in the air. Having a fan on will help the air feel cooler on your skin so you won’t have to turn down the AC any more than necessary. This strategy is especially great for when you’re cooking in the kitchen.