Summer is a rough season for our energy bills here in the St. Louis area. Our air conditioners work very hard to keep our homes comfortable, which means our utility bills are some of the highest of the year. Although you can’t do anything about the heat outside, there are plenty of things you can do to ease the load on your air conditioner and cut back on cooling costs. We want to help keep your energy bills low this upcoming cooling season, so today we’re providing you with a 10-step energy saving plan for summer!
A 10-step energy saving plan for this summer
- Schedule an A/C tune-up. There is simply no way your air conditioner can operate at its peak efficiency levels without scheduling an annual tune-up. A tune-up is when we take care of necessary maintenance tasks that will prevent performance problems and ensure that your system is operating as efficiently as possible.
- Change your air filter. When your air conditioner’s filter is dirty, it blocks your system’s airflow and your air handler has to work extremely hard to try and push air past the filter. This is one of the leading causes of efficiency problems in homes. Be sure to check and/or change your filter every month!
- Limit the use of your oven. Your oven can add a significant amount of heat to your home, and your air conditioner will have to work harder to compensate while it’s operating. That’s not to mention the fact that your oven consumes a lot of energy itself. When possible, try to use your microwave instead or take advantage of the warm weather by grilling outside.
- Turn off heat-producing electronics when not in use. Computers, TV’s and other electronics give off heat while they are turned on. Although one device might not add too much heat to your home, a combination of many devices running at the same time certainly will. Turn off your heat-producing electronics when you’re not using them to avoid this heat gain.
- Use an energy-saving thermostat setting. The higher you set your home’s thermostat during summer, the more energy your air conditioner will consume to keep up. The EPA suggests using 78 as an ideal energy-saving temperature, although this isn’t comfortable for everybody. Choose the highest setting closest to 78 degrees that is still comfortable for you and your family.
- Use your ceiling fans. Although ceiling fans don’t actually cool down your home, they do produce a wind-chill effect that makes your rooms feel cooler. By using your ceiling fans, you can use a higher thermostat setting (see above) while still feeling perfectly comfortable. Be sure to turn off ceiling fans in rooms that are not occupied.
- Run your dryer and dishwasher at night. Your dryer and dishwasher are two appliances that can produce a lot of heat while they are operating. Try to use them at night when it’s cooler outside and your air conditioner has a lighter cooling load in order to minimize the effects of that heat gain.
- Keep air vents open and clear. Although some “experts” suggest that closing air vents in unused rooms will save energy, this is not actually the case. If you want to ensure proper airflow and avoid efficiency problems, its best to keep all of your air vents completely open and free of obstructions like furniture.
- Cover your windows during the day. If your windows are exposed during the day, heat from the sun can penetrate them and add a significant amount of heat to your home. This is especially true for any windows that are in direct sunlight during the day. You can help block that heat from getting into your home by closing your drapes, blinds and/or curtains during the day.
- Keep interior doors open. Your home cools down the best when air flows freely from room to room. By keeping your interior doors open, you can ensure that your home is getting the most out of the energy that your air conditioner consumes and your system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.
If you have any questions about this energy saving plan for summer, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles, MO, air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like St. Peters, Town and Country and Weldon Spring, MO.
photo credit: didmyself via photopin (license)