8 Tips To Keep Cooling Costs Down: #AskAHomeInspector
Dreading that next summer electric bill? Keeping your home cool in Texas in August can be an expensive task. As home inspectors, we see a lot of ways that people could keep their homes cooler while using less energy, especially in the high heat of July. Here are our professional Dallas-Fort Worth area home inspectors’ best tips for keeping temperatures – and costs – low this summer.
1. Seal your windows and doors. Over time, windows and doors begin leaking air. You may think you home is closed up tight, but cool air is leaking out, and hot air is seeping in. Have an energy audit to determine which areas of your home are draining energy.
2. Delay use of major appliances until after dark. Washers, dryers, dishwashers and ovens generate heat and make your AC work harder. Why not do all your cooking on the grill? Keep the heat outside.
3. Make sure your air ducts are installed correctly and sealed. Two of the most common deficiencies we find when inspecting HVAC systems are a) duct work that turns too sharply, cutting off air flow, and b) broken or degraded seals on duct work, leaking air into the attic or crawl space.
4. Set your fans to rotate counter-clockwise. This creates a wind-chill effect, and you can raise that thermostat substantially. The standard human comfort range for light clothing in the summer is between 72 F and 78 F. Standard ceiling fans use less energy and can lower the temperature in a room as much as 7 degrees.
5. Install thermal windows, white window coverings or create shade. Sun shining through your windows can generate a lot of heat inside your home. A long term solution is to install thermal windows which are insulated against heat absorption. Other options are to cover windows with white or reflective coverings, which will absorb less heat. Dark or black curtains or shades may block the light, but they absorb the heat. You can also plant trees or install awnings to create shade.
6. Keep your AC components clean! Most people remember to change their air filters regularly (although you’d be surprised!), but we commonly see dirty, clogged vents inside the home and AC units outside the home. Normal dust buildup reduces air flow by 1% each week. Cleaning ALL the components will help your AC run efficiently and keep cooling costs down.
7. Use your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. Both of these pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your home.
8. Ditch the incandescent lights. If you ever needed a reason to make the switch to CFL or LED lights, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so tossing them to the curb will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your electric bill.
At Green Scene Home Inspections, we care about helping home-buyers be more informed consumers. If you have questions or would like to schedule an energy audit, contact us today!