Spring is in the air. Yes, after an extended few weeks of mild temperatures, spring is here and the weather is starting to get hot. In New England, our hot, hazy and humid temperatures can wreak havoc on our AC systems and electric bills. To help, here are some power savings tips to implement during spring before summer strikes!
In general, using the air conditioner efficiently and managing electrical usage during non-peak hours make the most impact on reducing energy bills. For example, try to keep the difference between the inside and outside temperatures as small as possible (and comfortable). To help, avoid placing appliances, such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.
The best way to control costs and the interior air temperature is proper home ventilation.
Also, the electric company charges different rates during different times of the day. Electrical companies charge less for energy consumed during off-peak hours, so try to wait until after 6 pm to cook, do laundry or wash dishes on days the temperature is over 90 degrees. Feel free to contact the local electrical company for more information on local peak hours.
Preventative Power Saving Tips
At SolvIt, we tend to preach the power of preventative maintenance, and taking a proactive approach to managing rising energy costs during the summer is no different.
Air will seep through cracks in the attic and walls, so to prevent warm air from leaking into your home – insulate the attic, along with sealing air ducts, which accounts for about 30% of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
2. Install Energy Efficient Window Coverings
Window treatments, such as energy efficient blinds, help reduce the temperature if they are closed during the day and open at night.
3. AC Inspection
Find a qualified HVAC technician to inspect your AC system to ensure it is leak-free and operating as efficiently as possible before sizzling summer temperatures arrive. Also, have the tech provide a small training so you know how to clean air filters because this is essential to keeping the AC unit running smoothly during the summer.
Power Savings Tips To Control the Temperature
When the temperature starts to rise, then there are some ways to help reduce your monthly energy bills through controlling the interior house temperature.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Most new homes have a programmable thermostat, so set it a couple of degrees higher during the day to prevent the cooling system to turn on when nobody is home. Programmable thermostats can help save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs a year.
5. Ceiling Fans
If you have a ceiling fan, don’t be afraid to use it because the fan will increase airflow and allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort. Many energy experts recommend setting the thermostat to 78 degrees, so a ceiling fan will make the home feel much cooler.
6. Remember the Bathroom Fan
Always use the bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath (and a range hood when cooking) because the fan removes heat and humidity from your home.
7. Close Doors & Vents
If you spend most of your time in one room, then you can reduce energy usage by closing doors to adjacent rooms and avoid cooling unused areas of the house.
Power Savings Tips to Manage Home Appliances
Many large appliances create a lot of heat that raises the home temperature. To help save on power during heat waves, then there are some steps to manage your appliances.
8. Don’t Heat Your Home
Similar to the using the bathroom fan, remember to use the range if you use the oven. The best option is cooking outside on the grill to avoid heating your kitchen and surrounding rooms.
9. Set the Water Heater
Many home energy experts recommend setting the water heater temperature to 120ºF.
10. Fill Up The Fridge
The experts recommend keeping your refrigerator full during warm temperatures because having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. This helps prevent the fridge from working as hard and lowers energy consumption.
11. High Efficiency Air Conditioners
According to the Department of Energy, high efficiency AC units can reduce air conditioning energy usage by 20-50% and regularly cleaning or replacing filters.
Power Saving Tips Outside the Home
In addition to managing the interior home temperature, there are a few things proactive homeowners can do to their exterior to help control energy costs.
12. Plant Trees
As a long-term action, consider planting shady trees on the west and south sides of your home, which will protect your home from the sun.
13. Spend Time Outside
Spending time inside will naturally lead to higher energy costs because you will be using lights, electronics and air conditioning. Spending more time outdoors means you can turn off indoor electronics, and in the process, you will have fun going to the beach, the park, the movies and anything else you enjoy during the summer!
For more details on power savings tactics, then the Department of Energy provides some great resources and insight into ways to reduce your energy costs.
Common Air Conditioner Problems
Even with taking proactive measures and managing your energy usage, don’t let your energy bills go through the roof! On average, home cooling accounts for 6% of overall energy usage and typically spikes in the summer.
Homeowners should find a trustworthy and reliable HVAC technician with expertise in air conditioning because when the AC breaks. If there are any AC issues, you’ll want quick and reliable service to restore the AC and keep your family cool.
For those homeowners looking to find and develop a relationship with a local plumber, then we are pleased to share that SolvIt was recognized as one of the best electricians in Connecticut in the Best of Hartford reader’s poll.
There are a variety of common AC problems that occur throughout the summer. To help, here is a quick overview of what to check and when to call a professional. After all, running an inefficient AC will impact the monthly utility costs.
If an AC isn’t cooling properly:
- Check the Refrigerant because it could be low or leaking. Call a trained technician to repair the leak and recharge the system.
- Check the Sensor especially if you have a window unit because the thermostat sensor could be knocked out of position. Carefully bend the wire holding it in place to properly position it. If you don’t feel comfortable bending wires, then call a professional.
- Check the Thermostat to make sure it is set properly and it is reading the correct temperature. Also, ensure the thermostat is working properly so check the batteries.
- Check the AC drain to ensure it isn’t clogged.
- Check the AC Filter because a clogged filter restricts airflow through the unit, decreasing its efficiency and reducing its ability to effectively cool the air.
- Check the Ductwork because they could be clogged, constricted or even leaking air. Call a professional to clean and air seal your ducts.
- Check for Electronic Control Failure because the compressor and fan controls could be worn out from having your system turn off and on too frequently. Contact a professional to check your unit’s electrical connections.
During the spring and summer, the warm weather entices us to spend time with friends and enjoy the company of others. As the weather rises, then we want to ensure that our homes provide a comfortable setting to spend time with our loved ones. At SolvIt, we simply want to help homeowners enjoy their homes. If you have any questions or cooling issues, then don’t hesitate to call – we are here 24/7 to help!