Tips to Save Money in the Hot Summer Months.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, setting your thermostat to 78 degrees is the optimal air conditioner setting for the summer months. But what if that temperature is too hot or too cold for you? Here’s a few tips to to get the most out of your HVAC system when it’s extra hot outside.
Turn up your AC when You’re Away from Home
Shoot for a higher inside temperature that’s closer to the temp outside, especially if you’re going to be away from the house for an extended period, such as going to work or on vacation. While you may not want to set your air conditioner to 90 degrees to match the 100 degrees outside in Texas summers, setting it to 80 degrees while you’re not at home will show on your electric bill. A higher temperature will slow down the flow of heat into your home and make it easier for your AC to work efficiently. If you set your thermostat 7-10 degrees above your normal setting while you’re away, you could save as much as 10% on your electricity bill. That said, if you have pets at home, make sure you keep it cool enough for them to be comfortable.
You can also try switching to a programmable thermostat, which Tri-County Heating and Air Conditioning can install for you, so you can automatically raise the temperature when you go to work and start cooling your house before you get home. For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you’ll save up to 3% of your cooling expenses. Setting it and forgetting it with a programmable or smart thermostat is a no-brainer that can help reduce energy expenses this summer and year-round.
Change your Air Filter Regularly
Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
Tune up your HVAC Equipment Yearly
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Tri-County offers a pre-season Planned Maintenance Agreement to make sure your system is in top condition for the busy months.
If you’re on a budget or are looking for additional methods to cool your home, here are a few ideas to consider.
- Using ceiling fans can make a room feel 4 degrees cooler. Which means you can turn up the thermostat a few more notches to save money.
- Close shades, blinds and curtain to keep the sun out during the day. Blackout shades and curtains work wonders.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows to keep cool air in and hot air out.
- Try to use appliances such as the stove or washer/dryer in off-peak hours to avoid heating up your home. Some appliances can raise the temperature up to 10 degrees!
Invest in an Energy Efficient Air Conditioner
Even when you’re setting your thermostat higher, you may not see your electric bill go down if your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently. Start by reaching out to Tri-County and have us come check your unit to make sure it’s operating at its best. Small things like leaky air ducts, poor insulation or overgrown landscaping around your outdoor air conditioner unit can affect efficiency.
Maybe an HVAC upgrade is the right move for you. A newer Energy Star certified system that has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating will be 15% more efficient than older, less energy-conscious models. Newer systems can also improve your comfort, since they typically feature 2-stage cooling and a variable-speed fan. This type of air conditioning system will keep you cooler more consistently, even on a lower setting. It also runs longer without the starts and stops that use excess energy and removes twice as much humidity from your air to keep you feeling more chill.