Summer is in full swing, and everyone’s taking advantage of lots of time outside. Whether your sunny days are spent grilling, gardening, visiting the beach, or hanging by the pool, the heat of the day shouldn’t follow you back inside the house.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, air conditioning costs make up an average of 12% of U.S. household energy bills. That means, every year, about 1.5 months’ worth of your energy expenses goes directly to paying for your A/C! And we all know the bills to cool your home jump in the summer time. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can try to keep your air conditioner from working harder than it needs to this summer.
“1.5 months’ worth of your energy expenses goes directly to paying for your Air Conditioning!”
#1: Windows that Work for You
Long summer days mean our homes can benefit from more hours of daylighting and fewer hours of turning lights on inside. But older, inefficient windows let in a tremendous amount of heat along with that daylight. That leaves air conditioners working much harder to cool the home. The fact is, windows are about 86% glass, which is the easiest place for the sun’s heat to transfer into the home – that is, unless you’ve got high-tech glass technology on your side.
ImproveIt’s high-quality, energy-efficient windows feature SolarTech glass that works with your home, reflecting radiant heat from the sun during the summer, while allowing heat to transmit in the winter. So, no matter the season, you can be confident that the sun is on your side and not in your wallet.
#2. Plug the holes
“Close the door, we don’t want to cool the outdoors!” It is a simple concept, to think that closing the doors and windows will help keep the cool air in and the warm summer air out. However, did you know that having even an 1/16-inch gap around your windows is the same as having a brick-sized hole for each window in your home? That means if you have 8 gaping windows, you have an eight-brick-sized energy black hole.
Over time, windows can shrink or warp in their frame and sometimes if the installation job was less than perfect, your home will be infiltrated by warm air, causing a constant uphill battle for your air conditioner.
#3: Ceiling Fan Smarts
Having the right windows in place will help take a load off your A/C, but don’t stop there. Consider turning off the air conditioner or raising the thermostat a few degrees so the air is off for a period of time. While the A/C is off, stay comfortable with smart use of ceiling fans, most of which feature a switch to reverse the fan’s direction in the summer and winter. In the summer, fans should run counterclockwise to provide a breeze for the people below. With the A/C off and fans used wisely in occupied rooms, you’ll know you’re not paying to cool unused spaces.
#4: Attic Insulation Buffer
For one more step to give your air conditioner a break, think about your house from the top down. While you’re cool and comfortable in the living room, the sun beats down on your roof. No problem – all that heat is on top of the house, and heat rises, right? That’s what we’ve all been told, but the true lesson of thermodynamics is that heat likes to move toward cold. So the only thing between the 150-degree roof and your 74 degree living space is your attic and the insulation inside it. A quick survey of your attic insulation can identify where that buffer between conditioned and unconditioned spaces can be improved, along with your home comfort.
There are plenty of other opportunities around the house to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system.
#5: Sealing air leaks in your HVAC ductwork and around doors and windows can help ensure cold, conditioned air is delivered directly to the rooms in your home, and then stays there.
#6: Installing a programmable thermostat gives you a set-it-and-forget-it opportunity to keep your home at the right temperature, at the right time. For instance, instead of setting the thermostat for 74 degrees all day, everyday, a programmable thermostat will let you raise the set-point to, say, 78 degrees from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. while the family is away at work or school.
#7: Investing in shade-providing landscaping around the home can help too. Remember all that sunlight coming in through your windows? Strategically placed shade trees can add curb appeal to your home, while also knocking down some of that hot sunlight from entering in the first place.
Your home should be a comfortable respite from the heat of summer. And with these tips and tricks, you can feel confident that your budget for summer fun doesn’t get spent on your air conditioning bill.
Give ImproveIt a call today or fill out the form below to learn how we can help you save money on your energy bills all year long with new windows!