Don't let summer leave you overheated — learn what you can do to stay cool and save money.Warm, summer weather has arrived — and with it comes the sun, heat and humidity. Since summer marks the beginning of the home cooling season, many homeowners are concerned about avoiding warmer indoor temperatures while still preventing painfully high energy bills.
There are a number of ways to keep your costs low while keeping your home cool and comfortable. Here are some of the best indoor cooling tips to help keep your family cool this summer:
1. Change or clean your air filter - Changing your air filter keeps the air in your home safer and cleaner, but it also saves energy, improves cooling performance and lengthens the life of your HVAC system. Filters should be cleaned or replaced at least every three months (or more often, depending on your system requirements). High-quality HEPA filters will yield the best results.
2. Close the curtains, blinds or drapes - A lot of sun can shine into your home throughout the day, especially during the longer daylight hours and intense heat of summer. Keeping your windows covered will keep much of the sun's heat out, which reduces the load on your air conditioner.
3. Keep A/C unit clear of weeds, vines and other debris - These materials can clog the unit and cause efficiency problems. This is a maintenance job you can do yourself in between professional routine maintenance for your HVAC system. It's important every year to get a complete tune-up and clean out any dirt or grime that may be slowing things down.
4. Set the thermostat higher - Lowering the thermostat to a cooler setting will not cause your A/C to cool the house any faster, but it may waste a lot of energy. Try to aim for a consistent temperature on the thermostat (between 75 and 78 degrees) with very minimal adjustments, or consider investing in a programmable thermostat to make needed adjustments for you.
5. Close or seal registers in the basement - Since basements keep a fairly consistent cooler temperature due to their location underground, any cold air directed into the basement will be wasted.
6. Partially close air vents in unused rooms - While your system is designed to cool the entire house, you can redirect some cool air to your most-used areas by partially closing certain vents. You may save a little energy and focus cooling where you need it most.
7. Keep all vents clear and unblocked - Blocked vents will increase the pressure on your air conditioner and prevent the house from cooling consistently or evenly, so make sure vents aren't blocked by furniture and remove any dust or debris that might be clogging them up.
8. Keep heavy cooking to a minimum - Turning on the oven or cooking anything on the stove for a long time will only make your house warmer, so try to focus on meals that include a lot of fresh or raw foods, like salads, or cook foods that have short cooking times.
9. Use ceiling fans to help cool your home - Reversible fans can be adjusted with the season, forcing cool air down in the summer and helping to keep your family comfortable. This way, the fans can work with your central air conditioner to help keep the air moving and help you feel cooler.
10. Prevent overexertion - Try to exercise or do yard work in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are lower, and drink a lot of water to help your body cool itself. This way, when you're indoors, you and your family can remain comfortable at a reasonable temperature, instead of feeling you need to drop the thermostat to combat overexertion or overheating.
These indoor cooling tips are a great place to start when trying to save energy and money while still living comfortably, but there are also many other ideas to try. You can also browse the Department of Energy website to find more indoor cooling tips to help manage your energy use during the hotter months.
Here’s the quick answer: 78 degrees. That’s the temperature the U.S. Department of Energy recommends for setting your thermostat while you’re at home. But what if 78 is too hot or too cool for your personal comfort level? No worries. Here are a few tips to help you turn up the heat (even a little) and lower your energy bills this summer.
CRANK IT UP WHILE YOU’RE GONE. Turning up your thermostat when you go to work or prep your home for vacation may seem simple, but there are a couple of pointers to keep in mind to make sure you have the proper “away temperature”.
Shoot for a higher inside temperature that’s closer to the temp outside. This will slow down the flow of heat into your home and make it easier for your A/C to work efficiently. If you set your thermostat 7-10 degrees above your normal setting while you’re away, you could save as much as 10% on your electricity bill. That said, if you have pets at home, make sure you keep it cool enough for them to be comfortable.
Try switching to a programmable thermostat, so you can automatically raise the temperature when you go to work and start cooling your house before you get home. For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you’ll save up to 3% of your cooling expenses. Setting it and forgetting it with a programmable or smart thermostat is an easy solution that can help reduce energy expenses this summer and year-round.
INVEST IN AN ENERGY EFFICIENT AIR CONDITIONER. Even when you’re setting your thermostat higher, you may not see your electric bill go down if your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently. Start small by reaching out to an HVAC expert, like a Trane Comfort Specialist, and have them come check your unit to make sure it’s operating at its best. Small things like leaky air ducts, poor insulation or overgrown landscaping around your air conditioner can affect efficiency.
Maybe an HVAC upgrade is the right move for you. A newer Energy Star certified system that has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating will be 15% more efficient than older, less energy-conscious models. Newer systems can also improve your comfort, since they typically feature 2-stage cooling and a variable-speed fan. This type of air conditioning system will keep you cooler more consistently, even on a lower setting. It also runs longer without the starts and stops that use excess energy and removes twice as much humidity from your air to keep you feeling more chill.
MAKE YOUR HOME NATURALLY COOLER. If you’re on a budget or want a fast fix, here are some quick non-tech tricks to lower the temperature in your home.
Still curious about how your thermostat and air conditioning system work? Give us a Call @ 541-382-8483
Spring is finally here!! Typically during spring, you don’t usually have to rely on your HVAC system since you can open the windows and enjoy the cool breeze. However this means it’s an excellent time to cool off your system, inspect it, and carry out a few maintenance tasks. This will ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly and you can dive headfirst into the summer season with no worries.
Check the Cooling System’s Refrigerant Levels
The temperatures will spike up, as the summer gets closer. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure that your HVAC has the correct levels of refrigerant to cool your home efficiently.
Change Your Air Filters
Over time, dust and dirt build up on the filters and result in insufficient air circulation. For ultimate effectiveness, replace the filters every month. Changing your filter is an important part of the quality of your home’s air. Not only can it make you and your family breathe better, but it can also help save you some money. Dirty filters restrict the airflow causing the HVAC system to work harder, which may lower the lifespan of your system.
Clean the Outdoor Unit
Usually, winter storms leave debris around your outdoor unit that you should use a garden hose to wash gently, the outdoor components. Clean your air conditioner when it’s at least 60 degrees outside so you can test it afterward ensuring that everything is working properly.
Upgrade the Thermostat
You can install a programmable thermostat to increase comfort and save energy. You simply need to program it to return your desired temperatures right, before you get back home.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Ensure that you have a preventive maintenance carried out by a qualified HVAC technician every spring. The technician has the knowledge and experience to detect HVAC issues early and offer the necessary solutions. A qualified HVAC technician can also point out problems or issues before they get too bad–which could cause costly damage down the road. With preventative maintenance, homeowners can avoid unexpected breakdowns during the hottest days of the year.
A spring HVAC inspection can help keep your system running efficiently through the hot season ahead. Proper maintenance will boost your comfort, keep utility bills down, and prolong the lifespan of your unit.
1. Is your HVAC system on its last leg?
Average life of an HVAC system is 12-15 years. Air conditioners typically last 10-15 years and furnaces typically last 15+ years. Bad news, chances are the people who owned the home before you, probably didn’t take proper care of it. HVAC systems work like human beings… The older they get, the closer they are to retirement. Though some HVAC systems keep chugging beyond their average lifespan, it is always better to plan for a new system instead of freezing or sweating it out.
2. Are you paying to run your system, but still uncomfortable in your home?
If you are unable to make your home comfort on hot and frigid days, it could be a sign that the HVAC system has grown weary. An efficient system (With properly sealed duct work) will evenly heat and cool the home. An old or poorly sealed system can make the living space uncomfortable. If your regularly scheduled tune-ups are not solving the problem, its time to call your local HVAC contractor to find out about replacement options.
3. Are you coughing and sneezing more than normal?
Indoor air quality [IAQ] is a major function of an HVAC system. Replacing a system will not always fix IAQ problems, but it is a good place to start. The HVAC system needs to be able to provide proper ventilation, humidity, and be capable of filtering filth out of the air you breathe. Lack of proper service can quickly result in poor IAQ, causing indoor allergies. If the inhabitants of the home are experiencing poor IAQ and it cannot be fixed by sealing duct work, new filters, or minor changes, it is time to replace the HVAC system. Contemporary HVAC systems come with improved ventilation control, which can solve IAQ and airflow issues.
4. Are your energy bills increasing?
An increase in monthly energy bills could mean that your HVAC system is not working efficiently and is using more energy than it should. An energy audit is your best option. Your local HVAC company will be able to either provide the proper testing or help you contact a local energy auditor to conduct testing. Older systems can be inefficient and use more energy. Newer systems use a lot less energy. If the system cannot keep energy use at an expected level, it is likely time to upgrade to an energy-efficient HVAC system.
5. Are maintenance costs becoming burdensome?
Have you been making too many calls to get your system repaired lately? Though it normally feels cheaper to keep your old system running, a series of major repairs can be expensive. If you are calling your local HVAC company for a repair every few months, you might want to think about upgrading your system. Replacement may seem expensive, but it will give a good return on investment in the long run.
Cascade Heating & Specialties presents the top HVAC myths uncovered. When it comes to spring and summer in Central Oregon, you want to be sure you know all there is to know about your home or office’s central AC system. Misunderstandings can lead to energy-wasting habits and soaring monthly utility bills. Avoid that unfortunate situation with the Freezing Mechanical insights below.
– The Top 7 HVAC Myths Uncovered –
Air Filters Don’t Need Regular Cleaning or Replacement Over time and with continued use of your home’s HVAC system, air filters collect dust, debris, airborne pollutants and moisture. As much as 40 pounds of dust are produced each year by the average home. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the leading risks to human health, and the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
In addition, not cleaning or replacing air filters ultimately makes your HVAC system less efficient and ends up costing you in wasted energy use each month. According to the Department of Energy, changing out a dirty air filter for a clean one can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
Drastically Changing the Thermostat Will Cool or Heat a Space Faster or More Effectively Your thermostat functions as a cooling or heating regulator. That means it’s simply in charge of telling your HVAC system when to turn on or off based on the desired temperature you instruct it to reach for a particular space. Just as an elevator will not come any quicker by pushing the buttons repeatedly, neither will your raising or lowering your temperature make the thermostat work any harder or quicker.
Closing Vents in Empty Rooms Can Save You Money During HVAC installations, systems are properly measured for vents to remain open at all times. Closing off vents in certain rooms creates imbalance and causes suction within the return air duct. Closing your vents will not save you money, and can in fact cost you in the long run due to pressure buildup in the duct work and ensuing leaks.
Electric Space Heaters Save You Money Electric space heaters run on electricity rather than natural gas. Not only does this make them a hazard, but it also can increase your energy bill since natural gas is four to ten times cheaper to run than electricity.
There Is No Reliable Measurement for Energy Efficiency Savings According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), more than half of the states in the U.S. have established energy efficiency targets. In addition, these states are also actively measuring usage to see where they stand in terms of progress being made to achieve these goals.
The Location of Your Thermostat Doesn’t Impact System Performance According to the Department of Energy, the location of your thermostat can ultimately impact the overall performance and effectiveness of your HVAC system. To operate properly, your thermostat must be installed on an interior wall where natural room air currents take place and where it isn’t being blocked by furniture or any other obstruction. It should be placed away from direct sunlight, doorways, drafts, skylights and windows.
Routine HVAC Maintenance Is Unnecessary Just like your car, your home’s HVAC system needs to be maintained on a regular basis. Scheduling routine AC maintenance helps ensure the peak performance of your system and detect any smaller issues before they turn into costly repairs. Regular maintenance will guarantee your central air conditioning and heating system lasts through its intended lifespan, and possibly beyond. Ignoring HVAC maintenance will cost you in unexpected breakdowns and repair expenses in the long run.