Well, it’s official – the heat has arrived in central North Carolina.
While we’ve enjoyed a rather pleasant summer so far in the Raleigh/Wake Forest/Rolesville area, we have recently seen temperatures hit the high 90s with little relief in sight. While this is typical for this time of year, we all hope for lower temperatures and relief from the inescapable humidity. Maybe next year, maybe next year…
As a friendly helping hand from your local HVAC service team, we would like to share some quick tips to help you keep the temperature low in your home and maximize the effort from your HVAC system. While a properly maintained and efficient system should have little trouble keeping you comfortable during these summer months, there are many little things you can do to help keep things cooler in your home, reduce the stress on your air conditioning system, and get a little break on your electric bill. Sound cool? Then read on to find out more!
Adjust your blinds and use black-out curtains to keep direct sunlight out. While this may sound obvious, you’d be amazed to find out how few people actually do this on a regular basis. It is estimated that direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room by as much as 10 degrees. The solution is to observe your home throughout the day and see where sunlight is directly pouring in, then use blinds and curtains to eliminate it. This should be easy, since so many of us are working from home these days!
Learn to live with warmer air. While we all love coming home to a cool home after being outside, many people go to extremes with the temperature they keep their thermostat set to. While the national average may be around 72 degrees, some customers just can’t help going to 70, 68, or even lower during these hot summer days! But, if you’re looking to maximize your saving on the electric bill, perhaps you should try a warmer setting. It has been tested, and the average household adds 6 – 8% on their electric costs for every degree below 78. While 78 degrees may be a little warm for your family, maybe try 75 for a few days and see how you manage? You may find that with a little acclimation it isn’t so bad!
Put your fans to good use. Almost everyone owns fans, but many people never put them to work. Unless the HVAC system goes completely out, there’s a water spill/leak, or someone has burned dinner these heroes of the home go unnoticed. However, utilizing fans throughout your home can help drastically cut the cost of the air conditioning and help keep the entire house comfortable. The best place to start is with ceiling fans; make sure each is set to turn counter-clockwise during the summer to help push down cool air. Additionally, portable fans can help distribute air through the home more effectively, and help you feel more cool by circulating air around. Finally, don’t overlook your HVAC system’s Fan settings! By choosing an option to run continuously, you keep the air moving in the home even while the air conditioning isn’t running.
Keep the oven off as much as possible. To me, nothing says ‘summertime’ quite like a backyard barbecue. During the winter I often dream of kids playing in the freshly-cut grass, smelling steaks on the grill, and a cold drink right out of the cooler. But there’s another reason I like cooking on the grill during warmer months – it helps keep unnecessary heat out of the home! By cooking chicken on a gas grill outside, instead of baking it in the oven, I’m reducing my kitchen’s overall heat. If it runs at 350 degrees for an hour it’s going to impact the temperature for much longer, forcing the unit to run much harder than it would otherwise have. And, if you don’t like cooking outside, try using electric slow cookers and pressure cookers (I love my InstaPot!) as a cooler alternative to long bake times.
Change the air filter. Regular readers of this blog may begin to think that we’re a broken record, but our advice stands – Always change your air filters! Whether you use a monthly filter (as we recommend) or three-month model, be sure to change your filters at the appropriate time and ensure the maximum airflow for your system. While this is an easy one to overlook, if you want optimal performance from your heating and cooling system, this is a step that cannot be overlooked!
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay a little cooler this summer and help put a few dollars back in your wallet. While there are more extreme things you can try, such as installing new insulation and planting trees to help filter sunlight, these are things that nearly everyone could try and get a little less heat this summer!