As the summer months have historically gotten hotter across all parts of the country, the energy costs to cool our homes has skyrocketed. According to the Department of Energy heating and cooling costs now account for more than half of a homeowner’s utility costs. And, this trend is only expected to get worse as rising summer temperatures continue to plague the nation. So, what can homeowners do to cool their homes without driving up their already high energy bills? There are three easy hacks you can use to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system — and have it run better for less.
Keep curtains or blinds closed for half of the day.
A lot of heat comes into our homes through our windows, especially if they get direct sunlight. Drawing the blinds for the hottest times of the day between 12-3pm can help to reduce the energy consumption of your AC unit. Another trick is to avoid using large heat-producing appliances during the day and instead plan to use them in the early morning hours or at night. For example, ovens and dryers produce an exorbitant amount of heat and can put more strain on your cooling system during the hottest parts of the day.
Vacuum indoor vents.
When was the last time you checked your indoor vents? If it’s been more than 3 months, then chances are very good there is a significant amount of dust and dirt in them that could be making your AC unit work harder. It’s also highly recommended not to block any interior vents with rugs, furniture, blinds, etc as this makes it harder for your cooling system to effectively control the temperature in your home.
Flush out your drain line.
Many homeowners don’t know that there is a drain by the indoor cooling coil of your AC unit. This typically is placed above the furnace in the basement. By flushing this out you can keep the drain clear so your AC unit can work more effectively. To clear the drain line, simply flush one cup of chlorine bleach down your air conditioning drain, then rinse it thoroughly with a gallon of room temperature water. When you keep your drain line clear, this can save your basement from flooding if and when the drain line becomes blocked.
Although AC units can be a huge investment, they’re relatively easy to maintain all year round. These three simple hacks can not just extend the life of your cooling system but they’re also a great way to help it run more efficiently during the summer.