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Summer 2023 was the hottest on record according to NASA’s data. It comes in at 2.1ºF hotter than the average. While this may not seem like a great increase, it made AC systems around the nation work longer and harder than usual.

 In Florida, FPL customers benefit from rate decreases of about $7 on an average 1,000 kWh residential bill. That’s a start to lowering your AC costs, but there’s a lot more you can do.

FPL customers pay a base monthly charge of $9.55 and then charge for each kilowatt hour used. For customers using less than 1,000 kWh, the energy charge is just over 7.1 cents, and it’s 8.116 for usage over 1,000 kWh. You also have conservation, capacity, environmental, storm protection, fuel charges, and transition credits adjusting your bill. An older, less efficient AC system will drive up your bills, as will a larger home or home with less insulation. 

With the cost of groceries, interest rates, and insurance on the rise, saving money is key. To get your bills as low as possible, there are different steps to take in and around your home. We’ll go over them and help you come up with a plan to get your bills down before the worst heat of the summer arrives.

Provide Your Largest Windows With Shade

When you have a patio door or large window that lets a lot of light in, shading that window or door is important. Awnings can do this. However, planting shade trees that provide shade at the hottest hours of the day is also beneficial. 

Make sure you’re planting trees in a safe location where they won’t pose problems to a leach field, if you have a septic system, or damage fencing or other structures as it grows.

Keep the Sun Out

How much the sun can heat up your home depends on the glass in your windows and doors. Windows have a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which is a rating of how much solar radiation gets through a window. 

The rating ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning very little solar radiation passes. If you have older windows that let air leak through, replacing them with windows with the lowest SHGC possible is ideal.

Beyond windows, honeycomb blinds have honeycomb pockets that trap air to keep cold air inside and hot air outside. Room-darkening honeycomb blinds will help keep the sun from heating your room. You could also use room darkening, insulated curtains to do this.

Improve the Insulation in Your Attic

When was the last time your insulation was improved? If it’s been a long time, new attic insulation helps keep the sun from heating your roof and having that heat coming into your home, which makes your AC system work harder.

If you have your insulation improved, there are instant rebates through FPL as long as you choose an approved heating and cooling company. All Year Cooling is approved by FPL to improve insulation in residential homes, and we can help you get an instant rebate from FPL and also a tax credit from the federal government for energy-efficient home improvements.

Cook Outside When Necessary

It’s estimated that cooking in an oven increases the area around the kitchen and rooms over a kitchen by as much as 5ºF. The heat from your cooktop also raises your home’s temperature. Induction cooktops are beneficial as the cooktop stays cool, which reduces the heat transferred to your home’s indoor air. 

If it’s extremely hot outside and your AC is running more, cook outside if you have to cook at all. Have ingredients for no-cook meals, such as grinders and a fruit salad, available. If you do cook, use a grill to move a slow cooker to a patio or breezeway and avoid heating up your home.

Turn Off the Lights

LED light bulbs and fixtures give off much less heat than incandescent bulbs. If you haven’t switched over yet, it’s a good time. LED bulbs have dropped a lot in price over the years, and they help you save money. If you can keep the lights off, do so. 

Run Fans

Use ceiling fans if you have them. They’ll circulate the air, which helps you feel cooler and allows your AC to not work as hard. If you don’t have ceiling fans, floor fans work well.

Stay Cool Without Lowering the Thermostat

Instead of lowering your thermostat, find ways to stay cooler. Sit near a fan or dampen a T-shirt if you’re too hot. You’ll stay cool without needing to run your AC more.

Use Your AC Wisely

When you’re at work, turn up the temperature in your home a couple of degrees. You’ll save money. If you have smart thermostats, they’ll learn your patterns and automatically adjust the temperature after you leave and decrease it in time for you to come home after the day. It can also learn your schedule for sleeping and waking up.

Make Sure Your System Is Maintained Properly

How often do you change your air filter? It should be done every month or two in the heat of summer. If you have pets or a lot of people living in the home, monthly filter changes are better. Inspect your air filter and see if you see a lot of hair, dust, and other particles. If you do, it’s time to change the filter. 

If you keep running your AC system with a dirty filter, the system’s fans have to work harder to push the air through the filter. A new filter keeps your system running efficiently, which lowers your bills.

You also need to have your coils cleaned yearly or possibly more often if you have an excessively dusty yard or home. You can clean your AC’s coils yourself, but some homeowners prefer to have an expert clean and maintain their AC systems, and that’s one of many services All Year Cooling’s experts provide.

Don’t Ignore the Benefits of a New AC System

An aging system doesn’t work as efficiently as it used to. It’s going to work harder to keep your home cool, and it’s still not going to do as well as a new system. Most central AC systems have an average lifespan of no more than 15 years. If your system is 10 years old, it’s a good time to ask a Miami AC expert about your system’s longevity. 

If you’ve reached a point where you’re paying for costly expenses every month or two, paying for a new system is going to save money over time. Newer systems use less energy while cooling your home. They also offer special features, such as smart diagnostic tools that allow technicians to pinpoint issues from a remote location and determine if it’s necessary to drive to your home. 

All Year Cooling can help you get the right system for your needs. Plus, we help you qualify for the FPL instant rebate on a new central AC system, and federal tax credits on efficient AC systems. With the rebates and tax credits, you’ll save money on a new, energy-efficient central AC that keeps you cool without driving up your electricity bills.

All Year Cooling