Posting Date: March 9, 2018
Posted by: Steve Ferguson, Ocala, FL Branch Manager
On average, about 20 percent of the energy American homes use in a year goes to cooling the house (that number, of course, is higher in warm weather areas like ours). With a little planning, however, you can cut those costs significantly.
Follow these six tips to help reduce the amount of energy you use to cool your home in the months ahead:
- Reverse your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans spin in two directions – clockwise (as you look up at it) and counterclockwise; the direction determines whether air is pushed down or pulled up through the room. During heating season, you want your ceiling fans to push air down into the room (since hot air rises), but in cooling system you want the opposite to occur. Usually, a counter-clockwise spin pulls air up, the proper direction for cooling season. If you want to be sure, set the fan (consult your owner’s manual) and stand under it to see if you feel warmer or cooler.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Keeping your home a few degrees warmer when you’re not home, or when you’re asleep, can save you 10 percent or more on your cooling bill. The easiest way to do that? Take advantage of the automated settings of a programmable thermostat. When you’re in the house, target a temperature of about 78 degrees to balance comfort with energy savings. Here’s another tip: you can raise the temperature even more on the hottest days, since it’s the contrast between outdoor and indoor temperatures that matters, not the absolute temperature inside your home.
- Change your air filter. This is one of the least expensive but most important “tricks” for your home cooling system. A dirty air filter will cause your air conditioner to work harder to force air through your ducts, reducing efficiency and causing unnecessary wear and tear on your A/C. Check your air filter monthly, changing (or cleaning) it when it’s dirty. At minimum, change the filter at least once every three months of HVAC use.
- Have your ducts inspected and sealed. Much of the air you pay to cool never makes it into your living space; instead, it leaks through cracks in your ductwork into, then out of, your building envelope. A recent joint study by the Comfort Institute and the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) found that homes with duct systems can see a reduction in energy consumption between of 5 to 15 percent with proper duct sealing.
- Get an Annual Tune-Up. Getting a tune-up for your air conditioner every year won’t just save you money by keeping your equipment running at peak efficiency – it will also help prevent premature equipment failure. Getting a tune-up from a Broward pro is easy and affordable – especially if you have a service plan with us. Of course if you need a repair for your system, we can help you there, too.
- Invest in ENERGY STAR® equipment. Energy efficiency matters, whether you’re buying a central air conditioner (which could qualify for a rebate or tax credit, saving you even more money) or a room unit. An ENERGY STAR central air system will use about 14 percent less energy than minimum government standards, and a room air conditioner will save at least 10 percent. Broward features a full line of high-rated Energy Star air conditioners, which we can expertly install in your home – usually in a day or two. Contact us to learn more or get a FREE estimate.