Summer days are often filled with a mixture of fun in the sun and sweat-inducing yard work. And coming inside to cool off isn't just a treat; it can be a necessary commodity when the temperatures soar extra high. If you're looking for ways to make your air conditioning work more efficiently, keep your home cooler, and run a little less, follow these seven simple tips.
Install Insulated Curtains
Insulated curtains are incredibly beneficial year-round. They keep heat inside during the winter and warm air out in the summer. They work so well, in fact, that you'll probably be able turn your thermostat down so that it runs even less than before.
Insulated curtains are much cheaper than energy efficient windows, and yet they often come with the same R-value—a factor that determines insulative properties.
Check Your Basement
During the winter months, warm air rises and escapes through your attic if not properly insulated. This is known as the "stack effect." In the summer, however, you have what's known as the "reverse stack effect." This occurs when pressure from the heat outdoors forces hot air into your home. Because cool air is heavier than warm air, the cool air will sink to your basement and flow out of any cracks and leaks you may have.
The best way to find leaks in your basement is to have an energy audit done, either by a professional or as a DIY, and then seal the cracks and holes up with the appropriate material.
Change Your Air Filter
How often you change your air filter depends on the type of filter you have and how often your air runs. If your AC is on a lot, it's really not a bad idea to take care of this monthly. When your filters are clean, your air conditioning doesn't have to work as hard to cool your home, making it that much more efficient.
If you don't want to spend money on filters, talk with an HVAC professional about using electrostatic filters. They can be washed as needed and reused.
Check Your Lights
As you know, light bulbs give off heat when they're in use. But some bulbs are hotter than others. One easy way to improve your home's cooling efficiency is by using cooler lights.
Out of all the bulbs available on the market today—incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, and LED—the LED bulbs not only use 50% less energy but also remain cooler when turned on.
In an experiment done by well known home-improvement expert Rosie Romero, Jr., LED bulbs measured 109 degrees while on, and halogen capped out at 279 degrees. So switching your bulbs to LED and making sure you turn out lights when they're not in use definitely pays.
Even recessed lights can contribute to heat infiltrating your home in the summer, but a lot of it depends on what kind of lights they are. Non-insulation contact (IC) lights tend to be hotter and for that reason cannot be installed anywhere near insulation. If you have these types of lights recessed in your home, you may want to speak with an electrician about upgrading to IC lights and adding insulation above so that cool air stays in your home.
Get a Tune Up
Even if your air conditioning seems to be in tip-top shape, it's a good idea to have a tune-up annually. When done regularly and professionally, you can prevent emergency repairs by having worn parts replaced and lubed, the coolant level checked, and anything else repaired that may not be showing problem signs yet.
Have Regular Cook Outs
You probably know how much heat your oven and stove put out when cooking. Why not take the cooking outdoors, then? On really hot days, fire up the grill, and your home will stay cooler.
Change the Direction of the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans don't affect room temperature; they're mostly used for comfort, both in the summer and winter. When it's cold, you want the fan blades spinning clockwise, pulling air up towards the ceiling so that warm air is better circulated throughout your room.
When the temps warm up, be sure to turn the direction of your fan to counter-clockwise so that the air is blowing down and keeping you cooler.
For more ideas or assistance, contact local central air conditioning repair services.