North Carolina summers are usually hot and humid, making air conditioning a go-to solution to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. But the costly bills associated with running the AC can be daunting. There are a few practical ways to lower your energy bills by cooling your home naturally and being smart about your HVAC maintenance and thermostat placement.
Quick Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill
If you’re looking for simple fixes to start saving money immediately, here are some ideas to try.
- Thermostat location and settings.
Your thermostat placement is a crucial detail that can affect how hard your air conditioning unit is working. The best place to install your thermostat is in a main room that’s used daily, on an interior wall that isn’t close to a door or window.
Use the automatic settings to your advantage. If you’re not home most of the day, set your thermostat to a higher temperature while you’re out and lower it when you return. Most thermostats have a programable schedule, but you can also alter this day-to-day if your schedule changes frequently.
- Use fans to circulate air.
Fans can help move air around the house and even draw cool air from areas such as the basement to naturally cool your home. If you live in a multi-story house it may be worth investing in an industrial fan to pull air through the basement and push it up through the rest of the house. You can also install ceiling fans in bedrooms or place a box fan in the window to pull in cool night air from outside.
- Service your HVAC system.
Another way to quickly reduce your energy bill is to have your unit serviced. It’s best to do this annually to check that everything is in working order and clean. This will help your unit run more efficiently, which can help lower your bill. Best practice requires you to check your air filter monthly and replace it every three months as well.
Long-Term Fixes to Improve Your Homes Energy Efficiency
If you want to save more money over time, you can make some home improvements to increase your energy efficiency.
- Replace your old HVAC unit.
If your ac is struggling to keep the house cool, it may be time to replace it. If you’ve maintained your unit and replaced the filter and it still seems to be working harder than needed, upgrading your system is the next step.
- Upgrade your home’s insulation.
Older homes tend to have old insulation materials that fail over time. This can cause the cool air your AC pumps out to be lost more quickly than it would with newer insulation materials in place. Re-insulating your attic and roof area can help keep the air temperature in your home more consistent all year.
- Seal the leaks.
Over time, your doors and windows can warp, causing leaks that can quickly suck the cool air from your home in the summer. Most home improvement companies offer a “door blow” test to help them determine where the leaks are in your home, so they can be professionally sealed off to prevent leaking.
How to Keep Your Home Cool Naturally
The following tips will help your home stay cooler, even if you’re not running your AC or trying to cut back on how often you use it.
- Avoid using appliances that produce a lot of heat.
As the temperatures outside rise, the heat in your home can start to build up. One of the best ways to avoid excess heat is by not running appliances that put off a lot of heat during the day. These include the dishwasher, cooking with the oven, taking a shower, and the clothes dryer. Instead of running them during the day, opt to run them at night when it’s cooler. Also, running them one at a time can help the heat disperse more evenly throughout your home.
- Use window coverings.
Window coverings like shades and blackout curtains can help keep the heat at bay during the day when the sun is at its highest. This can help you maintain the temperature inside your home naturally.
- Opening up at night.
When possible, it’s a good idea to turn the AC off during the evening hours and take advantage of the cooler temperatures outside. Be sure to use fans to help move the cool outdoor air in and the warm indoor air out.