Even as fall arrives in some regions, Florida’s humidity and heat don’t go away. Most people still have to run their AC systems throughout the winter due to high humidity levels and warmer temperatures. Year-round cooling can mean high energy bills, but All Year Cooling can help you reduce your monthly utility bills with these 20 tips to cut your AC bills.
- Plant Shade Trees
Go around the home and create a list of rooms that get the most sun exposure. Head outside and see if there are any structures that prevent you from planting trees that will limit the sun exposure in that room. Ideally, you want a space about 20 to 30 feet from the windows that let in sunlight and warm the room.
Once you’ve narrowed down where you could plant a tree, plant a tree that will create shade for you. You’re looking for trees that grow relatively quickly. American sycamore is one popular choice as it can grow many feet in one year.
- Close Vents in Unused Rooms
Shut the vents in rooms that you rarely use. If you have a guest room but only have overnight guests during the holidays, close the vent the rest of the year. You don’t need to keep that room as cool when no one is using it.
- Keep Dark Furnishings Out of Direct Sunlight
Dark furniture attracts sunlight and can radiate the sun’s heat to the air within the room. If you like dark-colored furnishings, try to place them so that they’re out of the sunlight. Aim for light-colored tables, sofas, and chairs in the areas of a room that get the most direct sunlight.
- Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans help circulate the cool air within a room. Make sure that the fan blades are moving counter-clockwise in the hottest months so that the cooler air is drawn up to the ceiling and pushes down the warmer air. In the winter months, you can still use ceiling fans, but you want to reverse the direction.
- Switch to a Programmable Thermostat
If you can, replace older thermostats with programmable ones. When you’re at work out of the home, it can be a bit warmer than when you’re home. Ideally, keep the home at 78º F when you’re home and 80º or 82º F when you’re out.
- Clean Your Floor and Ceiling Register Covers
When you vacuum the carpets each week, take time to run a duster or use the upholstery nozzle of the vacuum to clean dust and pet hair from your AC registers. Get both the register covers that are floor level and those up on or near the ceiling.
- Close Windows and Exterior Doors Tightly
Go through the home and check that all windows are sealed tightly. Latch and lock them to get the tightest possible seal. Make sure exterior doors are also closed tightly to prevent hot air from getting inside or cool air from escaping the house.
- Replace Worn Weatherstripping
Inspect the weatherstripping on doors and windows. If any is worn out or torn, replace it. The goal is to make sure there is no air loss from leaks around doors and windows.
- Cook Outside
When it’s hot outside, try to cook meals outside. Use the grill as much as you can. Take advantage of a side burner for any items that have to be boiled. If you have to cook inside, try to stick to small appliances that won’t transfer a lot of heat to your kitchen. A slow cooker is an example of a good way to cook a meal without heating up the kitchen.
- Check and Redo Caulking Around Doors and Windows
You’ve looked at the weatherstripping around your doors and windows. Now, it’s time to look at the caulking. Check for gaps around doors and windows. If there are gaps or cracks, remove the old caulking and replace it with some new caulk.
- Apply Heat Control Window Film
Larger windows, especially on exterior doors and patio doors may be letting in sunlight that warms your room. Head to a home improvement store and buy a roll of heat control window film. It sticks to the cleaned window and provides an insulating surface that keeps the sun from heating up your home’s interior.
- Seal Leaky Ducts
Have you ever had the ducts in your home inspected for cracks and gaps? If there are any leaks in your ducts, it impacts your AC system’s efficiency. You’re wasting money. Have a professional AC team inspect your ducts and seal any leaks.
- Inspect Your Air Filter
The air filter in your AC system needs to be replaced every few months. If you have pets, you may need to change them more frequently. Inspect the filter each month. If you hold it up to the light and can’t see through it, it’s time to replace your filter.
- Raise the Temperature
How cold do you set your thermostat? You could be driving up your energy bills simply by having a room that’s colder than it needs to be. The recommended setting for central air is 78.
- Install Window Shades
Window shades can help block out the sun when it’s at the highest point in the sky. Light-blocking curtains help reduce the amount of work your AC system has to do. Honeycomb shades are great for year-round energy savings as they trap cold air inside in the summer and prevent the loss of warmer air in the winter.
- Improve Your Attic Insulation
Have mice damaged your attic insulation? Is the insulation old and wearing thin? It’s time to look at improving your attic insulation. If your home isn’t meeting the current guidelines, consider hiring a professional to improve your attic insulation. Framed walls should be at or above R-13. Ceilings are supposed to be R-30 or better.
- Paint Rooms in Light Colors
Darker colors absorb the sunlight. Rooms that get the most sun exposure will be cooler if you paint the walls in light colors that reflect sunlight.
- Invest in a Light Colored Roof
Following the same theory as painting rooms in light colors, consider a light-colored roof. Darker roofing materials will absorb sunlight and heat up the upper levels of the home. Light gray roofing can help reflect sunlight and keep the attic or upper floors of your home cooler.
- Schedule a Professional Cleaning
Make sure you have your system professionally cleaned every year or so. You can do some of the cleaning tasks on your own, but make sure you’re not damaging any of the internal components in the process.
Clean the evaporator coils, spray out the fins and make sure you don’t bend any in the process. Check for loose wiring and signs of mildew in the vents. A professional cleaning can be well worth it when it comes to reducing your energy bills.
- Upgrade Your AC System With Newer Technology
All Year Cooling is your professional AC partner in having an efficient, effective air conditioning system. Don’t wait until it breaks down or starts driving up your energy bills. Reach out to our technicians for an evaluation to make sure your system is doing all it should and not about to break down on you at the world possible time. With a free AC evaluation, you’ll have peace of mind.
If it’s time to replace an older system, the amount you save in lowered energy bills will cover the cost of the new AC system in little time. While a new AC installation is an expensive venture, the savings and added comfort is worth it. Plus, you may qualify for government rebates if you purchase a qualifying system. All Year Cooling can go over possible rebates and tax incentives with you during a consultation.