June 1, 2016

Home Maintenance Tips: Keep cool and conserve energy.

Filed under: Home Maintenance — Chuck @ 10:56 am

June is here, and meteorologists everywhere are already citing record high temperatures in many regions. To ensure your home doesn’t leak the cool air you are paying for, that your air conditioning system is in optimum working condition, and that you keep your home cool and comfortable even when the a/c is not on, here are a few timely home maintenance tips.

Use Blinds and Shades
As much as 30% of the heat that warms the rooms of your home is solar heat that comes in through the windows. That means that if you use your blinds and curtains more strategically during the summer, you can reduce the cost of cooling your home dramatically. But you don’t have to live in the dark, either. You can simply shade windows on the side of the house that is getting the most direct sunlight in the morning. Then, when the sun moves away from them, open them and let in the light. If the sun hits the opposite side of your home in the afternoon, then close the window coverings on that side until the sun goes down.

Don’t Set the Thermostat Too Low
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. Don’t try to make the a/c work harder just because you feel too warm or the house has gotten hot and stuffy. That won’t help since it will not cool your home any faster and will likely result in the a/c system working harder and cooling your home more than necessary – which lowers the mercury but raises the cost of cooling your home.

Upgrade to LED Bulbs
Many consumers have been reluctant to upgrade from incandescent bulbs to more energy efficient ones, because those old fashioned light bulbs are cheaper to buy. But they aren’t cheaper to use, so upgrading is not just good for the environment but it is also good for your utility bills. Did you know that only about 12% of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb goes into generating light or illumination? That’s true. The other 85-90% only generates heat. That means that every room of the house has heat sources working in the summertime. If you upgrade to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs they cost more to buy but last longer and do not generate that unwanted heat.

Invest in a Better Thermostat
You should set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer, because even a few degrees can add up to hundreds of dollars worth of utility bills. But the problem is that most people keep turning the a/c on and off to adjust it, and each time the unit has to power-up again that also uses up extra electricity. The most efficient way to manage your HVAC setting is with a programmable or “smart” thermostat, which can adapt to your lifestyle while also managing the a/c system to ensure optimum functioning at the lowest possible cost.

Take Advantage of Fans
Set ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise in the summertime, so that airflow will push air downward and keep cooling the warmer air as it rises toward the ceiling. If you use the exhaust fans in your bathroom after a hot bath, and be sure to run them in the kitchen when you’re cooking, that will also cool the house and ultimately save on utility bills – since fans are cheaper to run than air conditioning units.

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