You don't need to spend a lot of money or time to reduce your cooling costs. Likewise, no matter if you have an air conditioner in your whole house or just one room, don't force it to work harder than it needs. Here are some of our top HVAC energy-saving tips that would definitely help you this time of the year.
- Air Leaks
Finding air leaks is difficult. Sometimes they're so small that it's almost impossible to see. You can find them by following a trail of smoke.
Turn off all fans and exhaust fans, and close all windows. Finally, shut off the furnace. Light some incense. Walk slowly around the exterior walls of the house. If you see smoke coming out of a place or being drawn toward it, there is probably an air leak.
- Window film with heat-reducing properties
The heat control window film can be used to cool your room and is easy to install. These films reflect heat from the sun and UV rays and reduce glare. The film will perform better if the sun is shining through the windows, which can help reduce your air-conditioning costs. The film can be applied in approximately 30 minutes per window. It should last for approximately 10 years. Prices will vary depending on the size of the film. The film can be bought at home centers or hardware shops. There are many different types of film, so make sure you get the one that is heat resistant. Unfortunately, the manufacturer's warranty on seals for double-paned windows may be void due to the film. The film can be applied if your window warranty is expired or you feel that reducing heat is more important than compromising a warranty. You might also consider installing shades, shutters, awnings, or shutters on the windows. Or, you could even plant a tree to block out the sun.
- Cover Open Soffits
Builders will often place soffits in places where cabinets or recessed lights are to be placed. If soffits contain recessed lighting, there is a higher risk of leakage. Refer to your sketch to locate them in the insulation. Reflective foil insulation is sometimes known as bubble-pack insulation. It works well as an air barrier in soffits. It is flexible at only 1/4 in. It's only about 1/4 in thick, so it is easy to use scissors. Clear the insulation from any surrounding wood in order to make the caulk stick. Once you're done, wrap the foil in insulation. You should limit the thickness of insulation to 3 inches. Ensure that recessed lighting fixtures are IC-rated. The label on the recessed container will list the rating.
- Do an Energy Audit
An energy audit involves a series of tests, such as the blower door pressure test, which will tell you how efficient your cooling and heating systems are and how efficient your home is overall. Based on the results of the audit, the auditor will suggest low-cost energy savings and more expensive upgrades that will pay off in five to seven years.
The blower door test is a fundamental part of an energy audit. After closing all doors and windows, the auditor places a blower fan inside a front or rear door. The blower door test measures the air infiltration rate or 'tightness'. The flow gauge and pressure gauge show the difference in airflow from the inside and outside so that the auditor can determine the air leakage rate.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat
Your energy bill can be cut by setting your cooling system to four to six degrees higher when you are away on vacation or at work, and then automatically lower it back to 78 degrees when home. A programmable thermostat can be mounted in a few minutes. For programming, the thermostat simply follows the manufacturer's instructions.
- Service Your Air Conditioner
Heating and cooling account for roughly half of the average home's annual energy bills (gas and electrical). Direct sunlight can cause air conditioners to use 10 percent more electricity. Plant shade trees or tall shrubs near your air conditioner if it is in direct sunlight. But don't close off the unit. You can place window units on the north-facing side of your house, or you can install an awning.
Make sure your central air conditioner or window is running at its best. Call a professional every two to three years to inspect the electrical components and the refrigerant.
An Energy Star model will reduce cooling costs and maintenance costs by 30% if your central air conditioner is older than 12 years. A 12-year-old system will typically pay off in eight years. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measure of an air conditioner's efficiency. The unit is more efficient if the SEER rating is higher.
- To find drafts, use a leak detector
A thermal leak detector is a tool that detects drafts in your home. There are many brands available online. This handheld, battery-operated tool uses infrared sensor technology to detect spots that are either warmer or colder than surrounding areas. It can be used to diagnose an air leak or poor insulation.
Point the Thermal Leak detector at ceilings, walls, or windows. If the detector spots a cold or warm spot the LED light will change to green (for warm) and blue (for cold). However, it is still necessary to conduct some investigation to find out the cause of the problem and how you can fix it.
- Clean your AC filters monthly and change them
Air filters that are dirty are the number one reason for air conditioning breakdowns. In hot climates, they can cost up to 7 percent more energy. In the summer, it is important to change central AC furnace filters every month. Window units usually have a removable filter that can be removed from the air intake grille and rinsed monthly.
- Shades are a great way to keep cool
You can cut your AC costs by investing in your own sweat equity and shading your house with vines, trellises, or trees. Direct sunlight through your roof and windows is responsible approximately for half of the heat gain. The east and west sides of the house can be saved up to 30 percent by placing trees and horizontal plants.
- Use fans to raise your thermostat
Ceiling fans are a great way to save money. They keep you more comfortable by setting the thermostat higher. Air conditioning costs will be reduced by 5-10% for every degree above 78°F. Moving air from a ceiling fan can increase the amount of evaporation and cool you down.