Thursday, July 27, 2017

Enjoying a Cool Summer

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Tips for Reducing Your Cooling Costs

With summer rapidly nipping at spring’s heels, it’s already warm in many areas, and just beginning to heat up in others.  It’s a given that everyone wants to reduce their heating and cooling costs each year.  Here are some simple tips to help you with cost-savings this summer:

Don’t overlook annual maintenance on your HVAC system. If you have a contract with an AC company or have coverage through a home warranty plan, take advantage of the price of a service call to make sure it is in good, working condition. If you suffered storm damage, then you definitely need to have your system checked out.

Change your filters. There are a few options available when you purchase filters:

  • Disposable Panel Air Filters. The cheapest and most commonly used, they consist of a fiberglass filter media that filters only larger particulates.
  • Pleated Air Filters. Similar to the Disposable Panel, but the filter media is a fabric-type material with the capability of removing significantly smaller particulates from the air. The pleating provides double the surface area for filtration than unpleated filters.
  • Electrostatic Pleated Filters. These are an upgrade from the pleated air filter, with a higher quality filter media material that is electrically charged to act like a magnet, drawing more particulate in for more efficient filtration. And the bonus–this filter does not permit the growth of bacteria, a possibility with other filters.
  • Reusable Filters. While this sounds like a good idea, it may not be. These filters are very messy when removed from your HVAC system, and you can easily release many of the captured particulates back into your home. The cleaning products needed to clean them effectively are highly toxic. This chemical gets absorbed into the filter, and some degree of it can be released back into the circulating air, posing a potential health issue.

You’ll find filters that are to be changed monthly or every three months.  Whichever you purchase, be diligent about replacement. To help you remember when to do so, calendar it on your computer or cell phone, or write the date of installation on the outside of the cardboard frame.  When you check it, you’ll know when you last changed it.

  • Check all of the seals around your doors and windows. If they are not secure, have them repaired or replaced to stop air leakage.  If you are handy, you can purchase and install foam caulking strips for your doors.
  • Remove your AC vents in each room and check to make sure that all of the ductwork leading to the vent is caulked around the edges to prevent air loss into your attic.  This is one of the most overlooked “fixes” and is easily remedied.
  • Clean your ducts. If you’ve not ever had this done, perhaps it’s time.  Build-up in your ducts can reduce air flow and make your HVAC system work harder.  Get recommendations from friends and family for a reputable company.
  • If you have a lot of south and west facing windows, invest in sunscreens to cut the heat dramatically.  Many utility companies are offering rebates to their customers who install these screens.  Check with your local utility company to see if this is an option.  A less expensive solution is to invest in black-out curtains to significantly reduce the heat in those rooms.  Remove them during winter months when you DO want the sun’s warmth.
  • Upgrade your thermostats. If you have an older home, a simple upgrade of your thermostats might also make a noticeable difference in your costs.  Older thermostats can wear out and lose their ability to properly regulate heating and cooling in your home.  There are many efficient thermostats, from automatic to programmable. That alone could be a lengthy discussion!  When you research which is best for your home and your needs, you’ll find that there are five types: digital, electromechanical, hybrid, occupancy, and light sensing.
  • For homes that have evaporative coolers in addition to AC, regular maintenance on this system is equally important.  Now is the time to replace or clean those pads, and check the water pump.  Here is a tip to keep you from burning up your pump motor (speaking, sadly, from experience!).  Before turning on your pump, unplug it, and make sure you can spin the shaft freely without obstruction.  If it spins, you’re good to go.  If it does not, you may have calcium build-up, which will need to be cleaned off.

Keeping all systems in your house in good working order will ensure efficient operation and help reduce your energy usage.  Here’s to enjoying a cool summer without sweating the cost!

Not up to doing this energy saving checklist of things yourself? Check out our Special Offer for this month and have The Fix-It Professionals take care of all of these items for you in one visit! If you would like help cleaning up, organizing, building of sheds or benches, or other outdoor projects, just ask The Fix-It Professionals.

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