Decreasing the load of your new AC unit will not only increase its lifespan but decrease your heating and cooling costs. Some of these ideas are low-cost or free and simply require a bit of habit changing and adaptation to the summer weather, and others are more long term improvements to the home that will provide dividends. In addition to the tips below, call us for regular AC maintenance, to keep your AC working at full capacity.
1. Plant Trees and Bushes Around Your Home
This is an effective way to reduce the heat-island effect in your own home. The way it works is that the plants themselves act as a buffer between your homes walls and the sun. By preventing the walls and roof of your home from absorbing the heat of the sunlight, it will keep the heat from permeating into your home through those walls.
A shaded area will be 4 to 5 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. Shaded walls are always cooler to the touch than walls that sit in the full sun all day. Some of that heat will permeate your walls and increase the energy necessary to cool your home. That is, unless you shade your house.
2. Replace Single-Pane Windows
A great long term solution, changing out single pane windows is a good idea for those people who own their homes and plan on staying in them for a decade or more. Although, it will increase the value of the property upon resale, that is as much a cursory benefit to the average home-owner as anything. You can reduce energy usage in hot climates by up to 18 percent by switching to double pane windows from the old single pane models.
3. Keep Your Blinds, Shutters, and Shades Drawn
This is something most people practice to some degree or another. The trick is to double check each day before leaving the house. Much of the heat that enters a home does so through solar rays piercing windows. By drawing the shades, shutters, and blinds you’ll effectively reduce the size of the area that can be heated to the space between the window cover and the window. Unless you have external shutters, heat will still get through, but it won’t be nearly as much.
4. Grill Instead of Using the Oven
Many people enjoy the idea of a summer barbeque. A popular holiday and family event featuring the best meat products the summer has to offer, grilling can serve a more everyday purpose. Most common oven and stovetop dishes can be cooked on a grill instead. Your oven or stove produces a lot of heat to cook your food, and that heat in turn raises the temperature in your home. Using your grill outside will reduce the amount of heat you’re producing in your home and make the summer easier on your AC.
5. Check Seals Around Doors and Windows
This is a cheaper solution than replacing your windows and therefore even viable for many apartment dwellers. All it takes is a keen eye, some silicone caulk and some weather stripping. This video, by the University of Maine, has a great DIY on how to prepare windows for summer or winter and this one has great instructions for how to weather strip a door. It’s pretty easy and inexpensive to do and the benefits are obvious. By plugging the holes to the outside you decrease the air transfer from the outside to the inside. As an added bonus, this also makes it harder for pests to get into your home.
6. Regularly Replace Air Filters or Wash That Permanent One
This one is a little thing that not only increases the lifespan of your AC unit but it will decrease your energy bill. A filter prevents dust and other particulates from building up in your heating or cooling unit. By allowing too much dust to build up, it makes the unit work harder to get the same amount of air flow.
Think of it as limiting the air flow that you can breathe in. A good way to try this yourself is try breathing exclusively through a straw. It’s exhausting after a while and you’ll eventually get light headed.
Putting stress on the system decreases its life span and as anybody who’s had to replace an AC unit can tell you, it’s a costly thing. That’s why to get the most bang out of your buck when purchasing an AC unit, you want to change the filter often. We recommend changing your filter at least every 3 months or more often if you have pets or allergies. Your air filter removes the allergens and dust particles from the air in your home, but things like pet hair can clog a filter more quickly.