Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re living in a sauna. EXCEPT when you get the power bill at the end of the month. The cost of cooling our homes during a Carolina summer is astronomical, but it is a necessity!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), air conditioners consume six percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, costing homeowners $29 billion annually.
Beat the heat with these money-saving tips:
Stop Cooling the Neighborhood
Most homeowners are losing their high-dollar cold air through unsealed windows and doors. A drafty house is not an energy-efficient house. The DOE recommends doing a visual check inside and outside the home for gaps, cracks and openings where air can come and go. Windows and doors are the areas most prone to leaks.
Get Smart About Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider upgrading to a Smart thermostat. They can save you money by using automatic settings to adjust the temperature and many of them can be operated remotely. If there’s no one home during the day, you can save as much as 10 percent on your power bill by keeping the thermostat seven to ten degrees higher for eight hours.
Close the Blinds
When it’s hot, about 76 percent of sunlight on windows enters in the form of heat. During the warmest part of the day, close your window blinds or curtains to keep out the sun. This can also help keep the cold air from escaping.
Use a Fan
Running a fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and uses a lot less energy than your air conditioner. Good air circulation helps your home maintain an even temperature, giving your HVAC a change to work less.
Avoid Extra Heat
During hot spells, avoid activities that generate a lot of heat such as cooking, running the dishwasher, and drying clothes. Fire up the grill or use the crockpot as often as possible for dinner. Wash your dishes by hand or use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher. Turn off lights, computers, and other heat-producing equipment when not in use. Do not run bath fans or range hoods for extended periods of time.
Even if you have the most efficient HVAC system on the market, it will not save you money if you do not care for your equipment regularly. An inefficient air conditioner raises your cooling costs. Maximize your savings by investing in an annual Maintenance Agreement.
Dirty filters can quickly restrict airflow and make units work harder to cool your home. Cleaning or replacing your filters once per month can lower your energy consumption by 5-15% percent. It can also avoid a costly breakdown.
Some utility companies allow you to pay the same amount every month over the year to avoid huge spikes in your bill during cooling season. Visit your utility company’s website or give them a call and ask about discounts, budget billing, and other options that could help reduce your costs this summer. Duke Energy has a number a customer assistance programs.
Replace Old Inefficient Equipment
An older system will not run as efficiently and that will cost you money on your power bill. The replacement costs may seem overwhelming, but in the long run, they are well worth it. Investments in new energy efficient HVAC systems often pay themselves back in as little as 2-3 years because of increased efficiency. When replacing your system, make sure you have HVAC contractor look at your duct system. Leaky ductwork can account for a 20-30 percent energy loss.
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas provide rebates to their customers who replace old inefficient equipment with eligible equipment upgrades. Check with your local utility companies for incentives.
Concerned with your system’s performance? Need a free estimate for replacement? Call the professionals at Helms Heating & Air Conditioning. We will do everything we can to help keep you cool this summer.