Summer in Texas can reach scorching temperatures, causing your A/C to work overtime and your utility bills to skyrocket. Before you despair over the choice between a cool home and a manageable electric bill, try some of these tips to help keep your air conditioning needs low.
If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats let you set different temperatures for different times of day. This can be very helpful, especially if you often find yourself turning your thermostat up or down manually to adjust for the temperature.
For example, if you work away from home during part of the day and don’t want to keep your home quite as cool as when you’re there, simply set your thermostat to a higher temperature during that part of the day. You can set it to lower again sometime before you arrive home so your house is already cool again when you get back.
The same applies if you prefer to keep your thermostat higher after the afternoon heat has gone. Simply set the desired temperatures for the specific times you want and let the thermostat do the rest. This simple task can end up saving you quite a lot by not making your air conditioner work as hard when it doesn’t need to.
You can help out your A/C by paying attention to the home it is cooling. Take some time to inspect your doors and windows. Check for cracks or gaps that could be letting your cool air escape, causing your A/C to have to run more often to keep your home cool. If you find any gaps, be sure to seal them.
Windows can also give you a great opportunity to give your A/C a hand keeping your home cool. If cool early morning or late evening breezes are in the forecast, consider temporarily turning off your air conditioner to let some fresh air cool your home for an hour or so. Briefly airing out your home can also help improve your indoor air quality.
During the hottest parts of the afternoon remember to close your windows and even your blinds to help your home stay cool once you’ve turned your air conditioner back on.
Another aspect of your home you can keep in mind to help your house stay comfortable is your appliance usage.
Some appliances generate more heat than you may imagine. For instance, baking in your oven brings a lot of heat into your home. If you use your oven during the hottest part of the day, your air conditioner has to fight against the heat it generates. It isn’t always possible, but whenever you can, try to plan ahead and use your oven during cooler parts of the day, such as morning and evening.
Your clothes dryer can also introduce a lot of heat into your home. The best way around this is to line dry clothes. However, since this isn’t always an option, try to limit your dryer usage to cooler times of day, such as morning and evening.
Unlike your oven and dryer, some appliances can help keep your home cool. Ceiling fans and box fans can help keep things cool and also keep air circulating.
All an oscillating or box fan needs is to be switched on. When utilizing your ceiling fan, once it’s on make sure it’s rotating in the right direction. Ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise during the summer to pull hot air up and keep cool air circulating.
In addition to the changes you can make in your home and routine to keep your home cool and to prevent your air conditioner from working too hard, you can also give some thought to your A/C unit itself.
Every unit requires a little maintenance now and then. The simplest of these is changing your filter when recommended. This is easy to forget, but it’s definitely worth putting a note on your calendar. Dirty filters cause your A/C to need to work harder to circulate air. In addition, dirty filters aren’t good for your health. Filters are there to keep debris from getting into your air. If it’s too clogged, you’ll end up with that dust and debris circulating in your home anyway.
It’s also a good idea to check your outdoor compressor unit to make sure that there isn’t any debris or plants crowding it. A brief summer storm can throw a lot of debris onto these units that can potentially cause damage or at the least impede function. For those that keep shrubs around their compressor units, keep them trimmed so they don’t encroach on the unit. Without enough air flow around a compressor unit, it can be difficult for it to run at peak efficiency.
Finally, make sure you have regular maintenance done on your A/C unit by a professional. Even merely an annual maintenance check can catch the early signs of problems that could snowball into major repairs if left unchecked.
None of us wakes up wanting to replace our air conditioner, but no one wants to be stuck without cooling on a hot summer day in Texas either. If your unit is over 10 or 15 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it.
Air conditioners are built to last, but modern units can be much more technologically advanced than older models, so it may be beneficial to replace your unit at the end of its lifespan before it completely fails. If you aren’t sure where your A/C is at, you can also keep an eye out for these signs your A/C is about to fail.
Looking for more ways to save energy while keeping your home cool this summer, or past due for a maintenance check up? Contact AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning to speak to a San Marcos air conditioning expert who can help!