It’s finally summer!

August 29, 2014

It’s finally summer!  That means three things: high heat, high humidity, and higher utility bills.

We would like to offer these tips:

  • Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic.  They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.  However, by doing so, humidity and airborne pollutants are let into the home causing your cooling system to become less efficient and creating an undesirable climate for allergy sufferers.  In addition, the amount of dust and dirt increases in the home, and makes your furnaces blower motor and air filter do overtime duty.  This in itself will require more maintenance to clean the blower motor (see our ASAP program) and changing your air filter more often.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer.  When the house is not occupied, do not turn the system off, but set the thermostat temperature up so the air conditioner will still come on and dehumidify.  The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling costs will be.
  • Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on (or down) your air conditioner.  It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using a whole-house dehumidifier in conjunction with your central air system to pull humidity from the home.  With lower humidity levels, you will feel cooler at a higher temperature setting and, hence, the air conditioner will not need to run as often.
  • Don’t place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat.  The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Plant trees and shrubs to shade the home and air conditioning units.  Also, awnings on the east and west windows block the solar radiation from reaching the glass.
  • Keep in mind that insulation and sealing air leaks will help your energy performance all year-round.  In the summertime, cool air is kept inside and hot humid air outside.
  • Move furniture away from supply air registers, especially floor supply registers.
  • If your air conditioner is over 12 years old, replace it with a new, energy-efficient, environmental friendly model.  You could save up to 60% on your utility bill for cooling.  Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels.

If you have not had your cooling system tuned up recently, or ever, it’s never too late. We regularly see outages and reduced efficiency – sometimes up to 20% – due to a simple build up of dirt and dust.  That can translate into longer running times and higher utility bills.

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