Summer is right around the corner, which means that Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley are gearing up for another steaming hot summer. If you’re new to the area, make sure that your air conditioner’s ready for summer: last year, Sacramento had 11 days with highs above 100 degrees in July alone, with seven days in a row having highs of 103 or higher.
Having to run your AC all the time can make a serious dent in your household budget when the power bill shows up. Thankfully, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption by making a few minor changes to your household routine, as well as how you use your air conditioner.
Take advantage of your thermostat’s scheduling function.
The days of ‘dumb’ mercury-based thermostat are long behind us. Virtually all thermostats installed the last 10 or 15 years are digital and have a scheduling feature that can be used to set the target temperature for different parts of the day (many even make it possible to set a different schedule for each day of the week).
Don’t just shut your AC off while you’re gone during the day. It takes an immense amount of energy to reduce the temperature in a house that’s been allowed to warm up all day. Instead, set your AC about 5 degrees higher than you would while you’re home. This will actually consume less electricity than leaving it off during the day and only running it in the evenings.
Adjust your ceiling fan.
The tilt of a ceiling fan’s blades means that when it rotates clockwise (as seen from below), it pulls cold air up, forcing hot air down. This is great for wintertime, but not so much for the summer. In the summer, ceiling fans should run counterclockwise in order to create a downward breeze. The direct airflow on your skin will help you feel cooler thanks to the wind chill effect, which means that you can set your air conditioner a little higher.
To adjust the rotation direction, check your fan remote for a rotation setting, or look for a small switch on the motor housing.
Get rid of your incandescent lightbulbs.
It’s actually no longer possible to get higher wattage incandescent light bulbs in the state of California, due to a government phase out. However, some homeowners have stocks of incandescent bulbs that they haven’t exhausted yet.
The problem with incandescent lights is that they produce a great deal of heat, which forces your AC to work harder. If you insist on using the last of your incandescent light bulbs, save them for the winter, and instead use CFLs or LED bulbs during the hot summer months.
Don’t use the oven.
Home ovens create immense amounts of heat. So when it’s hot out, use your microwave or stove top instead. Or better yet, grill up burgers in the backyard and spend time with your family during the warm summer evenings.
Keep your blinds and curtains closed.
A closed up house on a sunny day is a lot like a car in the parking lot—when the sun shines through the windows, heat is created which builds up over time. Make sure that your blinds and curtains are closed in order to reflect as much light as possible back through the window.
Check your weather stripping and seals.
As weather stripping and the seals around windows age, they deteriorate and allow outside air to leak into your home. Use caulk to reseal any leaks, and replace weather stripping when its cracked or frayed.
Clean your HVAC system’s air filters.
Indoor environments are full of dust, hair, and other debris. This is why HVAC systems intakes require the use of an air filter. Make to change your HVAC air filter whenever debris builds up. An obstructed air filter reduces airflow and the ability of your AC to effectively cool your home.
Call Gilmore for an AC tune-up.
Much like your car, your HVAC system needs the occasional tune-up. An ineffective air conditioner will use more electricity to produce the same amount of cooling as a properly tuned AC. If you notice that your AC’s performance is starting to slip, give us a call or send us a message with our contact form in order to get one of our HVAC repair experts out to your home.
Don’t let your power bill get out of control this summer. By following the tips above and getting a little help from the friendly folks at Gilmore, you can keep your electricity costs low while still staying cool and comfortable.