Save Some Summer Cash!

posted in Tips & Tricks on March 28, 2013

As we approach the Spring and Summer months, our thoughts begin to turn to grilling out, going to the beach, and sunlight streaming through the windows.  You may assume that your energy bills will change during the warmer months, and sure, that is partially true, but your usage is just different.  You’ve gone from heating to cooling.  That still takes energy, and you still have to pay for it.  So here are some quick and easy tips for reducing that cost as we approach the muggy dog days of July and August:

dproettphoto - IMG_7330Clean something.  At some point during the Winter you may have had a cold, and Spring brings bouts of allergies.  Your head gets clogged up, and you can’t breathe.  It kind of makes you tired, doesn’t it?  Your air conditioner knows how you feel.  It needs fresh air to treat for inside your home, and draws in warmer air to treat and release.  If the filters in your system are dirty, your air conditioner is essentially breathing through a clogged nose, and will have to work that much harder to move that air.  This makes it tired.  These dirty filters are also not doing you any favors when it comes to cleaning the air in your home.

Draw a shade.  One of the nice things about this time of year is the opportunity to look outside and see all of the beautiful flowers and greenery.  That’s all fine and good, but that sunlight streaming through the window is also heating your home.  Sunlight can account for almost half of all of the heat in your home, and a floor that has been soaking up sun all day will continue to release heat well into the night.  If you are unable to part with your lovely views, consider investing in a solar film.  This is not as efficient as a drape or shade, but will allow you to look outside while reflecting much of the sunlight away.

Move it around.  Think about this Winter:  Was there a day when it was particularly cold?  Perhaps in the 30’s?  That chill was much worse if there was a breeze blowing, wasn’t it?  Air moving across our skin helps to cool us down, and you can use this to your advantage during the hotter months.  Ceiling fans (blowing down!) are the best method for achieving this cooling, but even a small electric fan can do the trick.  Putting one next to your favorite chair or by the bed as you sleep can make it seem 10 degrees cooler than it actually is.

Plant something.  Part of saving energy is about your pocketbook, but part of it is doing something for the environment.  And that environment can help you out with your pocketbook.  We like to think of it as our version of the Cycle of Life.  If your lawn is a vast expanse or you have large decks or patios, much like the floor that absorbs sunlight inside your home, this open area will soak in heat all day long.  This will create a pool of heat around your home that will then need to be cooled down.  Trees that are close enough to your home will also shade the sides and roof, further reducing heat from sunlight.  Surprisingly, a few strategic shrubs or small trees will also allow your outdoor units to work 10% less, with shade keeping it cool.  Remember, though; close enough to work, but not so close as to restrict airflow.
Give us a call. 
Seriously.  The best time to do maintenance to your car is when it’s running.  Don’t wait for the dead of summer to call us for a dead air conditioner.  Now is the perfect time to charge coolants, inspect ductwork, and make sure that your system is in tip-top shape.  We can do the work for you, and even teach you how to do simple things like change a filter or program a thermostat.  And a few dollars with us could save you a small fortune in utility bills.