How to Save Energy During the Summer
Summer in Texas is brutal, and that’s true for climates all around the United States as well. In some places, you get the “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” explanation, but in other locales, it’s just plan HOT! If you’re like most people, you’re caught between wanting to keep your home igloo-ish to escape the summer sun and not wanting to pay utility bills that rival your mortgage.
So what’s a home owner to do?
You could import snow from the mountaintops by donkey, the way Emperor Elagabalus did in ancient Rome, but that seems a bit drastic. There are plenty of other ways to save energy and stay cool during the summer! Here are a few:
Service You Air Conditioner Before Summer
Don’t wait until there’s a problem. It could take the service people a day or two to get to you if you wait until the peak season for AC repair issues. Call and schedule a service inspection in the late spring and beat the rush! Better yet, sign a maintenance contract with a service company like us, and you’ll be one of the first each year to have your air conditioner checked out, and you don’t have to remember to schedule an appointment!
Make Sure Your Home Is Sealed
The addition of weather stripping or caulk around drafty doors and windows will serve two purposes. First, it will keep the cool air, the ‘bought air,’ inside your home where it belongs. Second, it will keep unwanted heat and humidity from flowing in freely. You can usually do this simple project yourself in a few hours.
Use Windows to Your Advantage
Properly sealed windows can keep heat out, and you can reinforce this by installing energy-efficient window treatments, such as blinds and curtains that block the sun’s rays. But you can actually use windows to cool your home, too. You can open the windows at night and turn the AC off completely if you live in a cooler climate. You can also turn windows that are across from one another into a wind tunnel and create a nice breeze, allowing you to turn off the air conditioning on all but the hottest days.
Learn How to Use Your Thermostat
First of all, most Americans keep their homes much cooler than they need to. Around 78°F is the suggested setting. Any lower than that is unnecessary and can cost exponentially more to cool your home. Then, consider turning the thermostat up 10 or 15 degrees when you aren’t going to be at home. You can also turn it up higher at night.
Consider a Programmable Thermostat
If the steps above sound like something you simply won’t remember to do, consider buying a programmable thermostat. There are several different types that range in price and functionality. With one of these thermostats, you will be able to set your thermostat a week in advance. And Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats offer even more control when you are away.
Employ Your Ceiling Fans and Ventilation System
Your air conditioner doesn’t have to do all the work! You can use your ceiling fan to circulate air through the rooms of your home. We suggest switching them to spin counter-clockwise during the summer so that they pull the hot air up through the room. Your attic fan and bathroom ventilation can also cool your home if they are used correctly. Turn them on periodically when the house feels stuffy or humid, but don’t leave them running all the time, or else you’ll be venting all your cool air to the outside.
Turn Off Lights and Appliances
Your parents probably fussed at you for leaving the lights on, and if you’re a parent, you probably do the exact same thing. Now you have a good reason! This simple trick will save energy two ways. 1) You’ll save energy from actually not running them and 2) your AC thermostat won’t over-cool the room because it thinks it’s warmer than it actually is.
Cooking in the house can also heat it up unnecessarily. Stick to summer dishes like salads that don’t require cooking, and barbeque meats outdoors whenever possible. Before air conditioning, homes had kitchens that were separate from the house for this reason.
If you practice these easy methods of saving energy, you will see your summer cooling costs drop! Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating in San Antonio can attest to the fact that all of these strategies have saved our customers money in the past, and they will work for you, too!