Its days like today, those muggy, oppressive Texas days, that remind me just why I dislike summer in the South so much. Can you tell that I am not much for the heat, lol. There is nothing that I would love more on a scorching August afternoon than to close all the doors and shutter all the windows and crank down the a/c with a refreshing bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. However, as I am reminded all the time, this is not always the best thing to do (cranking down the a/c, not the ice cream) nor the most cost effective when it comes to my light bill.
There are several things you can do to help keep yourself affordably cool this summer.
1. Keep your AC filters clean. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help control your electric bills and help keep your home cool as a cucumber this summer. Its funny though how many of us forget this simple step in our home comfort level. Filters have different lives to them depending on the ones that you buy and remember, if you have pets in your home your need to change your filter more often then it says on the package.
2. Keep your indoor and outdoor coils clean. If you are like me, you probably have a cottonwood tree somewhere in the neighborhood and that sucker always manages to find its way into my condenser unit. Keep an eye on it and spray it off with a water hose as needed. As far as the indoor coil is concerned, a seasonal cleaning, like the one included in our Comfort Club Membership, will make sure that any hair or pet fur that may have been missed by your filter is cleaned out. Remember, only a trained HVAC technician should clean your indoor coil.
3. Don’t turn your AC temperature all the way down. It may be tempting but you are doing more harm than good. For every degree you lower your thermostat your energy cost increases about 5%. Instead, turn on a fan, this will help to circulate the air in the room and create a wind chill affect.
4. Raise the temperature in the house while you are out. There is no reason to keep the thermostat set for 70 degrees when there is no one home, if you set it to around 78, say in the morning before you leave for work, this will help keep the temperature steady in the house while you are out and will allow it to not take so long to cool back down once you come home for the night. For extra ease, a programmable thermostat is best, then you can just “set it and forget it”
5. Watch for ice on the pipes at your indoor coil. This is the sign of a serious problem, turn off you’re a/c and call a trained HVAC technician, it might be just a small leak that can be repaired or it could be something more, but remember to always turn off the unit, allowing it to continue to run will not cool the house and will just delay the repair as the system needs to be thawed for it to be properly diagnosed.
6. Keep your condenser unit free from blockages or obstructions. You may think that by planting that bush right up at your condenser that you are helping to block the sun and keep it out of sight but in fact all you are doing it restricting the air flow and reducing the life of the condenser. Make sure to keep at least all plants and outdoor buildings at least 18” away from the condenser to help ensure proper airflow. The same goes for the indoor coil as well, make sure to keep all return air vents (these are the larger vents usually down at floor level) clear of obstructions and keep the coil clean.
7. Reduce air leaks. This seems simple enough, making sure that your windows and doors are air tight and sealed is important but so is making sure that there are no leaks in your duct work as well, this is something that can easily be checked during the regular maintenance on your system. Also, ask your technician to check the insulation in the attic, having the correct amount of insulation can save you between 10% to 50% on your heating and cooling bills. For added savings look into Radiant Barrier, a radiant barrier reflects the heat instead of absorbing it. You can look to save up to 17% with a Radiant Barrier added to your current insulation.
We believe an educated customer is the best kind of customer and that is our goal, to educate our customers so that they can get the best possible service and product. No one should ever feel like they are being taken advantage of and at AC Wizard we strive to make sure that every customer is an informed customer and has all the information needed to make an educated decision and never feel they are being taken advantage of.