Are you trying to decide between sweltering at home or paying an enormous cooling bill all summer long? What if we told you there are six inexpensive—or even free—things you can do to help your air conditioner keep your home more comfortable while lowering your cooling bills?
Even better? You can do all these things in next to no time. Just make these six easy tips a part of your summer routine and you can kick back and enjoy nice cool temperatures (and a nicer electric bill) during the hottest months of the year.
1. Check the Filter Monthly: When your air conditioner’s filter is clogged with dust, pollen, and dander, air flow is restricted and your cooling system has to work harder to keep the house cool. Take a peek at your air conditioner’s filter every month—if you can’t see the filter material, it’s time to rinse it or replace it with a clean filter. Not only will a clean filter make your unit run more efficiently, it will improve your indoor air quality by filtering out dust and other pollutants and can even extend the life of your AC window unit or HVAC system.
2. Switch Your Ceiling Fan: Did you know there’s a right way that ceiling fans should spin in the summer? Most ceiling fans have a small switch on the fan base that lets you change the direction of the fan blades. During the hot summer months, fan blades should be set to spin counterclockwise so they push air down and create a cooling breeze that can make your room feel significantly cooler. But remember: Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, so be sure you turn fans off when you leave the room to save on your electricity costs.
3. Fight Solar Heat Gain: The sun streaming through your windows doesn’t just brighten up your home: those rays can actually make your rooms—especially south-facing rooms—warmer so your AC has to work harder to cool things down. Fortunately, you can reduce solar heat gain just by keeping shades, blinds, and drapes drawn during the day. A more expensive fix is to plant deciduous trees outside your windows to provide shade during the summer months without sacrificing light and solar heat gain during the cold winter months.
4. Use Appliances Wisely. Many of the appliances we use every day—we’re talking televisions, refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, and even some lights—give off heat when they run. While you obviously can’t pick and choose when to run things like the refrigerator, you can choose to cook and bake and run the dishwasher in the early morning or evening so they don’t heat up your home during the hottest part of the day.
5. Stop Air Leaks. Are you paying to air condition the great outdoors? Check doors and windows for air leaks that are letting hot outside air in and your air conditioned air out. Not sure how to tell? Watch this video to learn how to test for air leaks:
Frost King has a range of easy-to-install weatherstripping products that can prevent air conditioned air from escaping through gaps around doors and windows, so spend an afternoon checking for gaps and filling them in to save yourself some cash.
6. Keep the AC Clear. If you have a window air conditioner, keep the area around it clean to stop dust and debris from getting into the unit and clogging it up. Then head outside to hose the outdoor condensing unit down to wash away dirt that has built up on the coil and metal fins, and trim back any plants and tall grasses around the base of the unit.