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Curb Your Cooling Costs This Summer

It’s been a soggy spring, but rest assured, warm weather is on the way. Follow these steps to stay cool while keeping your energy bills in check.

Keep conditioned air inside where it belongs

You don’t want warm air leaking into the house or cool air leaking out. Small breaches in your home can be detrimental to its thermal efficiency, so tackle cracks and gaps. Look for them around windows, doors, ducts and electrical outlets and seal with caulking, expandable foam sealant and weather stripping. You might also find holes around cables, dryer vents and HVAC pipes.

Sealing your home is an easy DIY job. However, more extensive projects may be required, such as insulating your attic or installing double pane windows. Consulting a professional home energy auditor will help determine where your home is losing energy and recommend solutions.

Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature

The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer to save 10% in cooling costs each year. If you can handle even higher temperatures, great! You can save an additional 6 to 8% for every degree above 78.

But if that’s too toasty, you can still realize some energy savings keeping the thermostat above 72 degrees.

Your best bet for reigning in energy expenses is to get a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat learns your daily patterns to automatically set the temperature higher when you’re away from home and lower shortly before returning so it’s nice and comfortable by the time you step foot in the door. Plus, it can be controlled remotely with a smartphone, tablet or computer. Pretty slick.

Supplement conditioned air with fans

Fans can’t lower the temperature in a room, but they can make people feel cooler thanks to the wind chill effect. That means you can set your thermostat to the recommended 78 degrees, but it will feel closer to 74 degrees.

Cover the windows

Heat from windows cause indoor temperatures to spike, making your air conditioner work that much harder. So, keep your curtains and blinds closed. An even better defense against summertime temps is thermal curtains, which better insulate your home.

Upgrade to a more efficient AC system

If your air conditioner is between 10 and 15 years old, it might need to be replaced, especially if it is exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Strange odors
  • Frequent cycles
  • Screeching/grinding noises
  • Warm air
  • Poor air flow

When shopping for a new unit, look for the Energy Star label and select a model with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. SEER ratings range from 13 to 25. A unit on the higher end of the scale has a variable speed fan which allows the system to run for longer periods at a lower speed for a more consistent temperature. That equates to energy savings.

At the very least, be sure to get your system tuned up to ensure it operates at peak performance this summer.

Cook outside

Kitchen appliances can raise the temperature by 10 degrees. So, fire up the grill instead. While you’re outside, you can adjust the thermostat higher, saving even more energy. If you must use the kitchen, make salads, sandwiches and cold pasta. Or use the crockpot, which cooks food lower and slower and won’t turn your kitchen into an oven.

Quality Degree is Phoenixville’s experts in energy-efficient HVAC systems, smart thermostats and AC maintenance. Contact us at 610-580-0206 for all your cooling needs this summer.