Develop habits to maintain a cool home without sweating the utility bills.
- Step 1: Keep your windows closed and draw your blinds to keep your house cool during the brightest times of the day.
- TIP: Set ceiling fans with reversible motors to turn counterclockwise to pull cool air upward.
- Step 2: Upgrade your HVAC system if it is more than 10 years old. Upgrading to an Energy Star-qualified model will save energy and allow you to stay cool while you save cash.
- FACT: Heating and cooling costs the average homeowner about $1,000 a year.
- Step 3: Change the filter on your HVAC -- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning -- system regularly. A dirty filter will slow down airflow and make the system work harder, wasting energy and money. Changing the filter at least once a month during the hottest months of the year will improve efficiency.
- Step 4: Install a programmable thermostat and set it according to your schedule. You can save on your cooling bills by programming your air conditioner to run less when you're away from home and at night.
- Step 5: Make sure your outdoor compressor is in the shade. Placing the compressor in a shady location will help improve your unit's efficiency.
- TIP: Keep shrubs and other vegetation at least a foot away from all sides of the compressor to allow for proper air intake and output.
- Step 6: Use metal-backed tape with acrylic adhesive, aerosol sealant, or mastic to seal your air conditioning ductwork. Since a significant amount of cool air can leak out through your ductwork, proper sealing can save energy and money.
- TIP: Duct tape has been proven ineffective for sealing duct leaks.
- Step 7: Schedule yearly maintenance on your air conditioning unit. Book a contractor in early spring to come to your house and check your air conditioner's refrigerant, condenser coils, and to clean and adjust the blower.