Temperatures Will Rise, but Your Cooling Bills Don’t Have To!
While your effort to stay warm during the winter is the usual reason for high power bills, your summertime electricity use may similarly creep up if you have a cooling system. With the range of sizes and options available, Portland air conditioning units are increasing in popularity as recent summers have brought record-high temperatures. By making simple adjustments, you can stay cool and your energy costs can stay low.
Money-Saving Tips from Portland Air Conditioning Experts
- Inspect the A/C: One of the best ways to maintain your A/C’s energy efficiency is to hire a professional Portland air conditioning contractor to inspect and give it a tune-up once a year.
- Regularly change the filters: When an A/C unit’s filter is dirty, it has to work harder (use more energy) to move air. Change or clean the filter as often as the manufacturer recommends. When you replace the filters, do some housekeeping and brush away leaves and debris on or around the A/C unit.
- Replace old air conditioners: If your A/C is over 15 years old or frequently needs repairs, consider getting a new one. New models are significantly more energy efficient than models that are 10 years old or older.
- Seal cracks: Improving your home’s performance will help you save on cooling costs. Inspect the interior and exterior of your home and seal cracks with caulk, particularly around doors and windows, to prevent cool air from escaping. Pay special attention to where utilities enter your home. If you encounter a large gap, you may need to use expanding foam to seal it.
- Shade your property: A lot of the summer heat in your home comes from the sun shining through your windows. Plant shade trees on your property or install awnings over windows. Even shading the A/C unit could boost its efficiency by up to 10 percent.
- Shade your windows: Draw blackout curtains or blinds over your windows during the hottest part of the day to help reduce the sun’s heat gain in your home. If you prefer to have an unobstructed view, consider using solar window screens that help block the rays, but not the view outside. Window films that reflect heat are another good option if you want to forego drapes.
- Install a programmable thermostat: There is no need to maintain cool temperatures in your home if no one is there. A programmable thermostat lets you set the ideal temperatures in your home according to your work and sleep schedule. Some also come with “vacation” modes to help you save energy while you’re on a trip.
- Move the air: During the summer, you may find that the temperature outside is cooler than the temperature in your home. When this is the case, forego turning on the A/C. Instead, open the windows and place fans near them to distribute the cool air.
- Move downstairs: In two-story homes, the upstairs is generally warmer than the downstairs. If the upstairs level feels too hot, but you don’t want to crank up the A/C, consider spending more time downstairs and, if applicable, sleeping in a downstairs bedroom.
- Strategic A/C placement: If you don’t think your home needs a central air conditioner, but you’d still like the benefits of a cooling system, consider purchasing smaller units and placing them in the warmest rooms.
- Avoid heat-producing activities: Turning on the oven, boiling pasta, using the clothes dryer and taking a hot shower—all these activities may cause your home to feel warmer on a hot summer day. Save these activities for the early morning or evening to reduce the heat gains in your home. When you need to make a meal, consider preparing a fresh salad or using the microwave to cook and heat food.
Your power bills don’t have to rise with spring and summer temperatures. To learn more about increasing the efficiency of your home, installing a new A/C or other issues related to home comfort, contact AAA Heating & Cooling.
[Photo from alamosbasement via CC License 2.0]