Pro Tips for Spending Less While Staying Cool This Summer
With summer rolling in, air conditioning season is in full swing. Unfortunately, summer is also the season of massive electricity bills for most Texas homeowners. The same AC that keeps the house nice and cool uses more energy than any other appliance.
But staying cool in the year's hottest months shouldn’t cost a fortune. This article will outline three easy ways for homeowners to save money by cutting their cooling costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Upgrade To a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
One of the best things homeowners can do to improve their home’s energy efficiency is to get rid of their old manual thermostat and install a programmable thermostat - or better yet, a smart thermostat. The two are similar in that they allow homeowners to create a custom cooling schedule to fit their habits, selecting the desired temperature for any time of day. This “set it and forget it” function can reduce energy waste and enhance convenience.
But intelligent thermostats have additional features that set them apart from basic programmable models. They can be controlled using a smartphone or other device from virtually anywhere, making it easy to adjust the temperature as needed. Secondly, some models track usage patterns and make suggestions or automatic adjustments to maximize efficiency.
Other possible smart thermostat features include occupancy sensors, zone sensors, energy reports, weather and performance alerts, and geofencing (technology that detects whether or not the homeowners are within a certain radius of the home and turns the AC on or off accordingly). With all these energy-saving features, it’s no surprise that smart thermostats can help homeowners save anywhere from 10-23% on their heating and cooling costs.
Add Weatherstripping To Windows and Doors
A new thermostat can work wonders for optimizing efficiency, but if cold air is escaping through gaps under doors and around the edges of windows, it defeats the purpose. And unfortunately, the more significant the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor air, the faster cold air will rush out, and warm air will flow in to take its place.
Homeowners can install weatherstripping around windows and exterior doors to solve this problem. Various weatherstripping ranges, from vinyl tubing and foam tape to metal V-strips and magnetic gaskets. But they all serve the same purpose: sealing the gaps where air can escape.
Weatherstripping is an effective and inexpensive method for improving energy efficiency. Most homeowners will be able to install it themselves without much effort (though some types are a little trickier than others). The best part is that the benefits of weatherstripping last all year long, as it does just as well at keeping warm air inside during the colder seasons so that homeowners can enjoy lower heating and cooling costs with this one simple tip!
Turn Down the AC and Crank Up the Fans
Finally, with the new thermostat and weather strips in place, it’s time to cut costs the old-fashioned way - by relying less on air conditioning and more on fans. As mentioned, air conditioners consume more electricity than anything else in the house. Ceiling fans, by comparison, consume very little energy.
Raising the temperature setting on the thermostat by 7-10 degrees for about 8 hours can save up to 10% on cooling costs (roughly one percentage point per degree). During the summer, the Dept. of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees while at home and even a few degrees higher while away (not accounting for any pets in the house). That may seem high, but that’s where the fans come in.
Fans help circulate cold air throughout the house and produce a pleasant breeze that can help carry off heat energy from the skin, effectively lowering body temperature and making the house feel more relaxed. In the summer, ceiling fans should be set to spin counterclockwise (when viewed from below), which will push air down. A clockwise spin will circulate warm air that has risen to the ceiling, which is helpful in the winter but not so much in the summer.
With these tips, homeowners can sit back, enjoy the cool air, and watch with glee as their electric bills shrink!
About Morrow Mechanical
Morrow Mechanical has provided the residents of Spring, TX, and The Greater Houston Area with award-winning service for over 20 years. They offer same-day service, upfront pricing, financing, and extended hours with no additional after-hours fee. Call them today for air conditioning services in Spring, TX.