Scientists and meteorologists are watching the latest weather to determine how hot it might get this summer. Eastern Antarctica is seeing temperatures averaging 70 degrees warmer than usual already. California is expected to get its first heatwave of the year.
It’s time to think about the summer. While it’s still bearable outside, take time to maximize your energy consumption this summer. By planning ahead, you avoid the rush of emergency calls for AC maintenance and repair. Here’s a checklist of everything you should consider before summer’s heat and humidity arrive.
Be Smart About Appliances
Dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers all heat up when used. As they do, it heats the air within the home. Avoid using these machines at the hottest times of the day.
If you have to run the dishwasher, pre-wash the dishes in cold water. The dishwasher cycle you’ll need to run will be shorter. Run the dishwasher at night when it’s cooler outside. Do the laundry in a cold water wash. Instead of using the clothes dryer, dry clothes on a line or rack outside.
Your range is another major source of heat. If it’s hot out, don’t use the oven or stove. Use a slow cooker if you want a hot meal. Move it to a patio or garage and keep the heat outside. Do the same with other small appliances that heat up, such as a coffee maker, toaster, toaster oven, or griddle.
Electrical appliances like computers and TVs also give off heat. Your desktop may be your preferred computer, but it will produce less heat. Switch to a laptop on the hottest days to keep the computer from heating the room. Turn TVs off for the same reason.
You’re not using an oven or range. You’re not using a toaster, slow cooker, or toaster oven inside the house. How do you cook meals?
Here’s one idea, use your grill. Make kebabs with meats and vegetables to cook outside. Serve them with a whole-grain salad that doesn’t require cooking, such as tabbouleh, and you have a filling meal that doesn’t heat the house. If you don’t like the idea of a salad, you can always bake a potato on a grill.
Keep the Sun Out
If you’re running air conditioning with the sun beating down, you’re wasting energy. The AC unit is trying to cool a room where the sun is heating simultaneously. It would help if you kept the sun out.
There are several ways to achieve this. First, when landscaping your yard, plant trees in locations that will shade the house during the hours when the sun is on that side of the house. Second, add light-blocking curtains to every window that gets a lot of natural light. Light-blocking curtains keep the light out, but you’ll need to install curtain rods if the windows don’t have them.
A better option is to add permanently installed honeycomb shades. These vertical blinds are lightweight and fit your décor. Each slat has a honeycomb design that provides insulation. In the winter, honeycombs block cold air from the window glass from entering the home. In the summer, it blocks the heat from the sun to keep it from entering the room.
Lower Humidity Within the Home
Florida’s weather is not only hot, but it’s humid. That humidity makes you feel sticky and uncomfortable. Consider running a room dehumidifier to remove humidity from the air. Your AC won’t have to work as hard to make you feel cool.
Plus, excessive humidity increases the risk of mold and mildew developing in your home.
You might want to get a combination air purifier and dehumidifier that removes the excess moisture while also cleaning and circulating the air.
Add Ceiling Fans or Fans
Ceiling fans or room fans circulate the air. You’ll get the same effect as you would with an air purifier. The AC chills the air in your home, but you have fans moving it around to prevent cool air pockets in specific areas of the house.
Insulate and Seal the Home
Add insulation and seal the home with caulk and weatherstripping to keep hot air from getting inside. As an added benefit, you keep the cold out outside in the winter. Preventing drafts and leaks is vital in helping avoid energy loss during heating and cooling systems.
You can hire a professional to inspect your home and develop weather-proofing suggestions. Otherwise, go around doors and windows with weatherstripping and caulk to seal holes or gaps. Do the same around basement walls and floors.
Additional insulation may be needed in the attic. While you’re adding insulation, if it’s possible, check the attic walls and joists for any gaps where the air escapes or enters. If there are signs of water getting in, it’s time to address the need for a new roof and a barrier that helps prevent air loss.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs and Light Fixtures
Incandescent light bulbs heat up. Remember trying to change one and having your fingers burn when you touch it? That heat leaves the bulbs and travels into your house. LED bulbs don’t heat up as much, so you have a well-lit room without the extra heat.
LED bulbs are far more affordable than when they first hit the market. Look for energy-saving deals to save money. For older light fixtures that don’t work with LED bulbs, such as a halogen lamp, you can buy LED fixtures that provide light for a fraction of the cost. You’ll have cooler rooms, and the new light fixtures are energy efficient, so you save money on your electricity bills.
Aim for Higher Thermostat Settings
It’s recommended that you keep an AC unit set to 78° F. If you have to sit it cooler, you’re wasting energy. Don’t dress for the cold air the AC unit creates. Dress for the heat outside, and you won’t need it as cold inside. Wear clothing from light cotton or gauzy fabrics that allow air to flow, and a warmer thermostat setting keeps you cool.
If that doesn’t help, consider dampening a t-shirt in a sink. Wear that while it evaporates and dries. You’ll feel cool the entire time, and you don’t have to set your AC thermostat to lower temperatures to achieve that comfort level.
Have Your Air Conditioning Unit Maintained and Inspected
Finally, make sure your central air system is maintained and inspected. If you haven’t had your AC system cleaned in years, it’s overdue. An inspection and cleaning ensure your AC system is in top working order and improves efficiency.
During a professional AC cleaning, you want all components of your AC system cleaned and inspected, including duct service. You may not have changed your air filter recently, and that’s also important. A professional AC technician can change them for you.
If the ducts are full of dust, pet hair, and other allergens, you’re straining your cooling system. With clean ducts and new filters, everything runs efficiently, and you get optimal cooling from your unit. An efficient AC system costs less to operate while providing the cold air you need during summer’s hottest days.
All Year Cooling offers free estimates for AC service. If you need a new AC system, reach out to us online via live chat to schedule an appointment. Ask us about our customer referral program that puts $50 cash in your hand by referring friends and family to All Year Cooling.