Saturday, 20 July 2019 22:46

Keep Your Cooling Costs Under Control This Summer

iStock 1040941164It has been a hot and brutal summer so far here in the Grand Strand. Many people are seeing large increases in their utility bill as their cooling system kicks on more frequently to combat the high temperatures. We've got some tips to help you keep your cooling costs under control this summer.

1. Use fans - Box fans, pedestal fans, ceiling fans... just about any kind of fan will help keep you cooler. In fact, running a ceiling fan is shown to help it feel as much as 4 degrees cooler. Fans cool you down by creating air current that flows over the surface of your skin and helps cool your body. So, keep in mind that fans cool people, not rooms and be sure to turn off fans in rooms you aren't using.

2. Avoid generating cooking heat - Avoid using your oven, stove or any indoor small appliances that generate heat. These appliances will increase the heat inside your home and make your AC work harder to keep things cool. Instead, opt for grilling outside.

3. Upgrade your AC/cooling system - If your cooling system is more than 10 years old, it's possible that newer models with a higher SEER rating will work more efficiently at keeping your home cool while using less energy to do it. This is especially true of EnergyStar systems. At the very least, keeping your current system well-maintained with professional cleaning and inspection at least once per year (preferably twice) will help the system you have work as efficiently as it can.

4. Get a programmable thermostat - A programmable thermostat lets you set it and forget it in terms of your home's temperature. You can set it to a warmer temperature for the hours you'll be away at work and set it to come to your desired temperature when you normally arrive home. You'll stay cool and comfortable when you're home and save energy when you aren't.

5. Change your air filter - During the summer months, it's ideal to change your air filter at least monthly. Your cooling unit is running overtime and a gunked up air filter will make it work harder and for a longer period of time to reach the desired temperature. Keep the air filter fresh and clean and your system won't have to work as hard and won't consume extra energy.

6. Keep all vents and intakes clear and unblocked - Similarly, your air vents and intakes help your cooling system run at its most efficient. If vents are blocked by furniture, clogged up with debris or otherwise not able to operate clear and open, it makes your HVAC work even harder to reach and hold the desired temperature.

7. Block sunlight - Use blackout curtains, blinds or even invest in window films that reflect out UV and infrared rays from the sun. Reflecting away the sun's energy keeps your home cooler and prevents sun-related heat-up.

8. Replace leaky windows - If your windows have seen better days, you might want to have them checked for air leaks. Windows with drafts or air leaks let hot air in and cool air out. While new windows can be an expensive upgrade, the money you'll save from new energy-efficient windows will have you wondering why you didn't have them replaced sooner.

As you can see from the top 8 tips here, there are a number of things you can do to help your cooling system work more efficiently this summer. As a bonus, when your HVAC works more efficiently, it uses less energy and keeps your utility bill under control.