Here in Flower Mound, TX, the summer heat is often intense. For at least five months out of each year, we see average temperatures of 80 degrees and above. That means residents must lean heavily on their home’s AC systems to stay comfortable. However, that can end up costing a small fortune, and with energy rates always in flux, that’s a big burden to most families. For that reason, the experts here at Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating decided to share some tried-and-true ways to contain energy costs. Here are the seven best summer energy-saving tips.
1. Use Your Thermostat Wisely
During the cooling season, your home’s thermostat is your biggest ally in your quest for energy savings. If you use it wisely, it can have a big impact on your AC operating costs. If you own a programmable thermostat, the first step is to set a schedule that meets your comfort needs. This will help you to avoid running your AC when nobody’s home and free you from having to manually alter the set temperature when you are.
For maximum savings, most experts agree that you should set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees on hot days. The idea is that you can stay reasonably comfortable without overspending on AC energy costs. However, if you find that you need a lower temperature to stay comfortable, be aware that every extra degree of cooling will cost between 6% and 8% more energy. So, you should strive to set the highest temperature you can comfortably tolerate.
2. Reduce Indoor Cooking
In the summer, there’s nothing most Texans love more than a barbecue. As it turns out, they’re also a great way to minimize your cooling costs. That’s because kitchen appliances generate a great deal of heat. When you cook indoors, you’re forcing your AC to try and remove all of that extra heat, on top of the natural heat it’s already dealing with. To give you an idea of how much of a burden your kitchen can be, consider that a kitchen calls for an extra 4,000 BTUs of cooling power when sizing an AC system. So, if you can avoid cooking indoors, your energy savings will be significant.
3. Use a Clothesline to Dry Clothes
Another great tip to save energy in the summer is to take maximum advantage of the outdoor heat. One of the best ways to do that is to dry your laundry on an outdoor clothesline. This saves energy in two ways. First, it helps you avoid having to use your clothes dryer. If your home has an electric dryer, it’s a major electricity draw and isn’t cheap to operate. And if you have a gas-powered dryer, that’s a bit less expensive but still worth avoiding. In both cases, though, avoiding the use of your dryer will also reduce some of your home’s air conditioning needs. Plus, it’s better for your clothing and will help them last longer.
4. Plant Deciduous Shade Trees
Although it may take a year or two to pay off, another great way to cut your home’s energy costs is to plant deciduous trees around it. This is especially effective if you plant them on the southern-facing side of your home. That’s where they’ll do the best by shading your home from the sun during the hottest parts of the day. And in the winter, when you want the extra heat from the southern-facing exposure, deciduous trees will have dropped their leaves and won’t get in the way. Depending on the conditions elsewhere in your home, shading it in this way could reduce your cooling needs by up to 75%! Just remember, though, that you’ll need to be careful with shade trees if your home also has a solar power system that needs unfettered access to sunlight.
5. Close Your Blinds and Shades
Trees aren’t the only thing that can help to keep the sun’s heat out of your home. The blinds and shades on your windows can help, too. You’ll want to keep all of your home’s blinds and shades closed during the hottest parts of the day. And if you have lots of southern-facing windows, you may want to install heat film on them or install heat-control curtains to block out more heat. Although you’ll be sacrificing some natural light in your home, the heat you keep out can significantly reduce your air conditioning needs. And turning on a few lights during the day will cost you far less in electricity than it would to keep your home’s AC running nonstop during the hottest parts of each day.
6. Maintain Your Home’s AC
It’s also a good idea to schedule a maintenance appointment to make certain your home’s AC can operate at peak efficiency when you need it to. This is a tip that may have a profound impact on your summer energy bills. For example, did you know that a dirty air filter can saddle your home’s AC with a 15% efficiency penalty? And if your AC runs low on refrigerant, it will gradually lose its ability to produce sufficient cooling power for your home. Those are just two of the conditions that a maintenance appointment might uncover and correct. This is an especially good idea if you’ve neglected your home’s AC over the years since there’s a good chance a tune-up will produce a significant drop in your operating costs.
7. Install a New AC System
Perhaps the best thing you can do to cut your summer energy costs is to replace your home’s existing AC system with a newer, more efficient one. And the older your existing AC system, the more you’ll save by replacing it. For example, the average AC system installed 20 years ago may have a SEER rating as low as 10. Today, any AC system you purchase here in Flower Mound must have a SEER rating of at least 15. The difference in efficiency between those two systems could produce energy savings as high as 50%. And that’s just the beginning.
Today, there are central AC systems on the market that have SEER ratings as high as 26. And although the savings per each added SEER point aren’t linear, an ultra-efficient AC could reduce your summer energy costs by a great deal. If that sounds like a good option, contact one of our experts here at Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating to get a better idea of how much you could save with a new AC system.
The AC Experts on Your Side
As you can see, there are plenty of excellent ways to cut your summer energy costs, and Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating can help you with many of them. We’re a family-owned and -operated company with roots going back to 1949, making us a mainstay here in Flower Mound. We offer complete HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair services, including an AC rejuvenation service that’s perfect for helping residents cut their summer energy costs. We also offer indoor air quality and commercial HVAC services, too.
So, when you need help with your air conditioning system in Flower Mound, call on Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating, and we’ll get right on it!