Summer may be winding down, but humid weather lasting well into September means most of us will continue fighting to keep our homes comfortable until cold weather hits. This also means continuing the battle to keep your electricity bill in check.
The transition from summer heat to colder months is a great time to make sure your climate control systems are operating at peak efficiency. Here are a few tips that we recommend to cut down on your energy use and save on your electricity bill during any season.
#1. Clean or Change Air Filters
If you haven’t cleaned your air filters yet this year, now is as good a time as any to make sure that they are clean and flowing freely. A clean filter can reduce your climate control system’s energy usage by up to 15%, so be sure to clean or replace yours every month or two during seasons of high usage.
#2. Seal Windows and Rooms So Air Can’t Escape
None of our energy savings tips will be effective if air is escaping through leaky windows and doors. Consider installing weather stripping around leaky window and door frames, or plastic window insulation film on windows. If you are in an older home and the frames themselves are leaking, it is a good idea to have a professional look at resealing them.
Sealing door frames and windows will also save you energy in the fall and winter months – there’s nothing worse than a cold draft sneaking into your cozy home in the middle of December.
#3. Replace Window Units With A More Efficient System
Window units are also a key culprit of leakage, since they require an open window for installation. Make sure they are well sealed around the edges, or better yet, consider installing a split-type or central air-conditioning system.
Many older homes, like the row homes and historic stone homes that are so common around Philadelphia, have space constraints or plaster walls that don’t allow them to fit the ductwork used in traditional systems. Does this sound like your home? If so, a high velocity system might be the perfect solution for adding central air to your home.
High velocity ducts are only 2 inches in diameter, compared to traditional ducts which are commonly 6 inches. Because of the smaller, more flexible ducts, high velocity systems can be designed to fit into any home.
#4. Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat
As the temperature changes outside, it can be tempting to crank your thermostat significantly lower or higher. Resist the temptation! Setting your thermostat to colder or hotter temperatures than necessary means that your systems will work longer than necessary, and cost you more money. A great way to control this is by automating your home’s cooling or heating with programmable thermostats. These systems will decrease energy use when you’re not home, so you can save money without even noticing!
Also be mindful when programming your thermostat. Creating too large of a temperature difference over the course of a day will force your system to work overtime to meet these varying temperatures at the specified times. It’s more efficient to maintain the temperature in your home, rather than to reduce temperature during the hottest time of the year, or increase the temperature during the coldest months of the year. So be sure to keep your target temperatures within 3 degrees of each other.
#5. Regularly scheduled maintenance from an Expert
Climate control systems are complex machines, with pieces spread all over your house. All of these pieces will show wear over time and any one of them can be the cause of efficiency loss. Some key culprits are leaky ductwork, low refrigerant levels, thermostat accuracy and wear on belts and motors. Whether servicing your A/C or your furnace, consider having a professional take a look at your system at least once a year to make sure everything is in proper working order.
If you have questions about any of these tips, or your home’s climate control system, why not ask the experts? Unique Indoor Comfort is a Conshohocken based heating and cooling specialist, serving the area with the utmost care for more than 30 years.