Summer is almost here, but this is Florida -- it’s already HOT! It’s time to think about how you are going to stay cool without breaking the bank.
You may think that your only option is to run your AC at full throttle and hope you have enough money to pay the bills when they come. However, there are several things that you can do to lower your energy costs while keeping your home comfortable. If you are extremely experienced at DIY projects, you may be able to perform some of these improvements yourself. If you are like most people, though, you will need the services of a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to perform those improvements for you. That being said, here are three cooling tips that will save you a bundle:
1. Seal Your Ductwork
A home cooling system uses ductwork to distribute cool air throughout your home and return air to the main unit for further conditioning. You may have seen your ductwork when you were in your attic or crawl space. It is typically constructed of sheet metal or fiberglass and may be rigid or flexible. The majority of it will most likely be insulated.
The problem is that your ductwork could be leaking. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as much as 30 percent of a typical home’s energy is wasted through leaking ductwork. This could be because the ductwork was improperly installed or was subsequently damaged. Joints and seams may also have separated due to expansion and contraction or other forces. If you notice that one part of your home is significantly cooler than another, there is a good chance that your ductwork is leaking.
The good news is that repairing leaking ductwork is relatively inexpensive compared to such things as having to replace your entire cooling system. However, it requires the services of a knowledgeable HVAC contractor to know what to look for and how to correct the deficiencies.
2. Schedule an Energy Audit
A home energy audit will provide details concerning the overall performance of your home’s cooling system. Once the review is complete, you will have a better understanding of how the various components of your cooling system work together to maintain a comfortable temperature within your home. The audit will also identify places that you may be wasting energy and recommend cost-effective fixes like adding insulation or caulking around doors and windows.
To conduct the audit, a home energy expert will walk through your home room by room and make various measurements and observations. They will examine each component of your cooling system as well as specifics about the space being cooled. This will include the size of each room and room details that might affect the performance of your cooling system. It is also likely that they will inspect your attic and crawl space if you have one.
Auditors commonly use specialized equipment to make measurements related to energy efficiency. They will also inspect your ductwork and the amount of insulation in your attic. Additionally, they will educate you on how to set your thermostat to achieve maximum savings and still be comfortable. A detailed energy audit will also compare your energy costs to that of others in the area to spot energy costs that are out of line.
3. Have Your AC Tuned Up
One of the best ways that you can save money cooling your home is to have your AC unit tuned up by a qualified professional. A tune-up will start with a thorough inspection of each element within your system, including the compressor, coils, and air handler. If your refrigerant level is low, an inspection will be conducted to determine if your cooling system’s coils are leaking.
The coils will also be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the restriction of airflow. This will increase the efficiency of your unit. The tune-up will also include an inspection of the electrical components and switches. If necessary, parts showing a high degree of wear or electrical arching will be replaced.
There are several benefits to having your AC maintained:
Your unit will run more efficiently, which will save you money on your utilities.
A tune-up will help prevent unexpected breakdowns. This will keep you from suffering in the sweltering heat while you are trying to locate a service technician.
You’ll save money by keeping your system in good operating condition rather than having to pay overtime rates to repair a system that has broken down.