Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why to Hold Off on Turning on Your A/C This Summer

Now that summer is almost here, you may want to start thinking about turning on the air conditioning. When the temperature rises, your first inclination may be to cool your house with the HVAC system. But there are some alternatives to air conditioning that can save energy and money. 

Landscaping for Shade 
















Image via Flickr by K i N

Energy efficiency is possible with proper landscaping methods, according to Landscaping for Life, a site promoting sustainable living. An easy way to get results is to shade the HVAC unit itself. Shading the air conditioner from the hot sun will save energy, even when you do turn it on. In fact, shading the outdoor unit can increase the system's efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

If you can landscape with trees, shrubs, and groundcover, then you can reduce the heat that radiates to your home. Evergreen trees, or trees with high crowns, will shade your roof and windows, lowering your air conditioning costs throughout the summer.

Lower Humidity Levels
Another way to cut down on air conditioning use this summer is to lower humidity levels in your home. The optimal range for humidity inside your home is between 40 to 50 percent. Keeping the humidity level low will keep you comfortable, even as you wait longer to turn on the air conditioner. When the indoor air is too humid, it can cause the inside of your home to feel hot, sticky, and steamy.

One way to lower the humidity level is to use a dehumidifier during the summer months. You can place units in certain rooms, such as damp basements, where the humidity levels are too high. A few other things that can help ease humidity include limiting hot showers, cooking, and boiling hot water on stove. Putting lids on pots and pans can help prevent your home's humidity level from increasing.

Survey the Home
Do a quick survey of your home, and you'll see if there are some areas that need improvement to help fight the heat and keep you from having to turn on the air conditioner. One strategy could be to switch off some of your electrical appliances when not in use, such as the TV or computers. Keeping lights off during the day can also help, since lights can generate heat that adds up during the day.

Also, you can check if your celing fans are working properly, especially in the bedrooms. Turning these on at night can make you more comfortable while sleeping and lessen the need for the air conditioner. If you don't have ceiling fans, consider investing in some to beat the heat.

Having the option to turn on your air conditioner is useful, especially during the hottest months of the year. But being able to reduce your energy usage and save some money is also a favorable prospect for homeowners. Following these constructive suggestions and keeping your cooling system running efficiently with proper repair and service will allow you to hold off on turning on your air conditioner.