Americans spend up to 70% of their summer electricity bills on air conditioning. All that juice adds up to $11 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s more than the yearly operating budget of Oklahoma — and about a dozen other states.
Air conditioning keeps us comfortable, but it also creates a lot of waste and costs a lot of money. Sure, you could shut off your A/C altogether, if you don’t mind being ridiculously (and dangerously) hot. Like most problems, the best solution is somewhere in the middle.
Here are a few expert tips for dialing back the A/C, saving cash and staying cool this summer.
UP YOUR AIRFLOW
The breeze from an ENERGY STAR® rated ceiling fan can make you feel up to 10°F cooler while adding less than $5 to your electricity bill annually. If you turned down your thermostat 10°F to get the same effect, you’d be spending hundreds of dollars more over the course of the summer.
USE YOUR THERMOSTAT WISELY
Does your setpoint sit at 72°F all summer? Raise it a few degrees and speed up your ceiling fan at the same time. You’ll save up to 5% on your cooling costs for each degree you raise your thermostat and feel just as comfortable thanks to those breezes.
AUTOMATE YOUR COMFORT
Prefer to let technology do the work? Seek out smart home products, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat or Big Ass Solutions’ own Haiku connected ceiling fans. These cutting-edge devices have built-in sensors that track the temperature. You can also schedule them to shut off when you’re not around. And after an initial setup, you’ll never have to lift a finger again.
LET MOTHER NATURE HELP
Turn off the A/C when the temperature outside dips and open windows on parallel walls to create a cross breeze. If it’s hot during the day but cool at night, crack the windows while you sleep, then shut them in the morning to lock in cool air.
EMBRACE THE SHADE
Much of the heat in your home is the result of sunlight coming in through the windows. Plant bushes and trees or install awnings, shades or shutters to keep unwanted heat where it belongs: outside.
DON’T ADD TO THE HEAT
Everything that draws electricity generates heat. Energy-efficient indoor appliances create less heat, but some appliances, such as ovens, produce heat by design. Consider using those appliances less this summer. (As if you needed another reason to grill out…)
GIVE YOUR A/C SOME TLC
Regular maintenance will keep your A/C unit running at peak efficiency. Change your air filter every three months, and get your system inspected by certified HVAC technicians every year, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. If you do have an older system, don’t just Frankenstein it back together every time it breaks. Installing a new, energy-efficient system will save money in the long run through reduced repair costs and lower energy bills.
AND! BIG ASS SERVICES CAN HELP
Want to implement the above tips? Big Ass Services can help with most of them.
Stop by the Central KY Home & Garden Show THIS WEEKEND, March 31- April 2 at the Lexington Conv. Center and talk with Big Ass Fans in more detail about how they can save you money!
The service arm of Lexington-based Big Ass Solutions offers installation, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair for Big Ass Fans, Big Ass Lights, HVAC systems, smart-home products and plumbing.
Most people don’t spend a ton of time in their attic space — believe it or not! It’s not a fun place to work. It’s not a fun place to go into. In Plano, Texas your attic could be 160 degrees! Who wants to go up there in that heat? But even so, it’s important to know your attic. Here are the types of things you can check out in your attic:
You should know how much insulation, and what type of insulation is in your attic. Is it settling? If so, you’re losing value there. Is it moving away from a certain part of the house, or being blown around?
If you go into your attic and look around, you will be able to see if you have any rodent activity. Feces from rodents can lead to unhealthy air quality.
Go up into your attic and take a look at the roof. Is it leaking anywhere? Catching a leak early can save thousands of dollars!
Are your fans working? If any of them are stuck, you might have airflow problems.
As you can see, there are a ton of systems in your attic space! In addition to everything we just listed, you probably have your air conditioner and heating units up there, too. There’s a lot going on in your attic! We recommend going up there 3-4 times a year. If you need to go up into the attic to chance your A/C filter, that’s a great time to walk around and check on things. Be careful not to step through your ceiling, but walk around as far as you can and check: Does my insulation look different than it did a few months ago? Do I have fans that aren’t working right now that should be, or that were working last quarter? When you have us come out, we check your airflow, your insulation levels and your heat reduction opportunities using a radiant barrier. We check to see if your electric fans are working. We’ll check to see what type of insulation you have and whether it’s settling if it’s been moved around or tunneled through by rodents, all those types of things. So as you can see, your attic is important, and it’s filled with important systems and products! If you put a little effort into maintaining that space and making sure that everything is working properly, it can lower your bills and help with the overall performance level and comfort of your home.
So check your attic out today! If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, come to the Collin County Home & Garden Show and talk with the knowledgeable folks at Energy Attic!