Back to School, Back to Saving

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With back to school time and the expenses that go with it around the corner, paired with the fact that it is the hottest time of the year, it makes sense to consider back to school tips on energy efficiency and saving. We have found the best tips for energy saving that you can put to work right away.

If your thermostat is still operating on summer schedules, it may be running the system more hours per day than necessary. Usually, back-to-school means the house is less occupied during daylight hours and so doesn’t require the extended summer schedule for air conditioning. Also, as cooler outdoor weather begins to arrive, you’ll be able to bump up temperature settings a few degrees without affecting indoor comfort.

Savvy homeowners understand the importance of a clean air filter in the air conditioning unit. Dirty air filters can reduce the efficiency of the unit as a whole, costing you both money on your monthly bill and comfort in the home's temperature. A clogged air filter can also create unnecessary wear and tear on the air conditioner. This will result in a shorter lifespan for the unit, and force an early and expensive replacement.

Other Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat to a higher temperature while you are at school.
  • Use appliances efficiently by running full loads only in your washer, dishwasher and dryer. 
  • Your HVAC systems air filter should be changed every 3 months. A new air filter will ensure your system is not working harder than it should to keep your home comfortable.

Air Conditioning Tips while You Soak up the Sun

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Don’t turn it off

To understand why you shouldn’t turn off your air conditioner while away, you should first understand what an air conditioner does.

Yes, it cools your home. But it also removes humidity. And in a climate like Kansas City that’s an important function.

For optimum comfort and for the health of your home, the humidity in your house should be no higher than 50%. More than that and you run into common humidity problems, such as:

  • Mold
  • Musty smells and odors
  • Peeling paint
  • Warped wood furniture (floors, cabinets, etc.)

 

A long weekend is a great time to save money on your utility bills, but not at the expense of comfort when you return. If you’re only going to be gone for a short time, just a day or two, it’s better to keep the air conditioner on, but set at a higher temperature.  Your ideal compromise between energy efficiency and comfort when you come home is probably somewhere between the recommended 85 degrees and your usual thermostat setting. If you normally like to turn the thermostat down to the low 70s, bump it to 80 when you leave. 

Want to save even more money? Talk to an HVAC company about upgrading your thermostat. Newer thermostat systems give you the power to change your home’s temperature remotely with smartphone apps, allowing you to adjust based on changing temps outside. At the least, you can enter a new setting as you head back from vacation, so you don’t walk into an uncomfortably muggy or chilly home. Instead, your A/C or heater will be busily plugging away to get to the new temperature while you travel back.

 

Save on Your Energy Bill This Summer with These Tips

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Save money on air conditioning this summer. These tips will help you pay less to cool your house this summer.

Leave the Thermostat Alone
Many people are good about leaving the air conditioner at the recommended 78 degrees. Some go a step further and set the temperature higher when no one's home. But don't lower the temperature below 78 to cool the house down faster. The air conditioner cools at the same rate no matter where it's set. Adjusting the temperature to 70 degrees will not help your house get to 78 degrees any faster than leaving it at 78.

Keep the Curtains Closed
Natural light can help reduce your lighting costs, but when no one is in a room, it's best to keep the curtains closed during the day. It is especially true for houses with windows facing east and west. Keeping direct sunlight from entering the house helps reduce the amount of work your air conditioner has to do. To maximize cooling, open the drapes, blinds or curtains in the evening to allow heat to escape through the windows.

Turn on a Fan
In more temperate climates, you can turn the air conditioner off at night and let ceiling or floor fans provide do all the work. The energy used by fans is far less than that of air conditioners.

If you live in a warmer climate, fans can still provide a comfortable breeze at night and may allow you to set the air conditioner above 78 degrees saving a great deal of energy. Fans can also help move cool air around the house to ease the workload of the air conditioner.

Get Rid of Hot Air
Use an exhaust fan when cooking to help expel hot air from the house. If you don't have an exhaust fan, cool the room by using a floor fan in the kitchen while cooking. Fans not only cool the air, but they also help move hot air out of the kitchen.

Save Chores for the Right Time
While cooking can heat up a room, so can running the dishwasher and clothes dryer. These tasks are better left for the evening hours or, better yet, when no one is home.

Prepping your AC Unit for the Summer Heat

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Don't wait until the first day of Summer to check your AC unit. Start prepping your unit now so you can find problems before the weather heats up. Here are a few maintenance tips to make sure you stay cool this summer. 

Focus on the air filter
The first thing you should check is the air filter. You may have a disposable or a permanent air filter depending on your AC unit. If you have a disposable filter, change it before switching on the AC unit. If your AC unit uses a permanent air filter, clean it thoroughly to keep the unit working efficiently. Having a clean filter ensures there is nothing restricting the cool air from circulating freely.

Clean out the air vents
Your AC unit can only work optimally when there is nothing obstructing the flow of air in the vents. You can choose to physically check if there are any blockages in the vents or you can have a professional clean the vents for you. This ensures even coverage of your AC unit within your property.

Clean the area around the unit
If you have an outdoor AC unit make sure to clear any debris around it. Remove branches or leaves that could be blocking or touching the AC unit. A good rule of thumb is to have space of about two feet surrounding the unit.

Test your AC unit once you've done the above prep work. If something isn't working right call us and we'll take a look at it for you. 

Winter HVAC Preparation

During those cold winter nights, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system becomes the most valuable commodity in your home. But if it's running poorly, that means less comfort and higher energy bills for homeowners. Heating your home and producing hot water are generally the largest energy expenses for any homeowner, so you can ensure your home heating bill remains as reasonable as possible by supporting your HVAC system and keeping it running properly.

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Become Aware Of Seasonal Energy Needs

Just like the weather, your heating and cooling needs vary with the seasons. Familiarizing yourself with seasonal tactics used to control energy costs such as adjusting ceiling fans, utilizing attic and whole house fans, seasonally adjusting your thermostat, and more can help keep your home and family comfortable without wasting energy dollars.

 

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