17 Aug How to Keep Your House Cool in the Summer
Welcome to the dog day of August. It is the middle of the summer and our homes are battling the summer sun for a few months.
Are you looking for ways to keep your house cool?
Are you tired of seeing your summer utility bills rise each year or even every month?
Is the only way to keep your house cool by blasting the A/C?
Do you simply believe that’s just how much it costs to keep our house cool in the summertime?
Although many homeowners give up hope, the reality is your home can remain cool! Simply, follow these steps to reduce your energy use and those summer utility bills.
How Do I Reduce My Energy Consumption & Keep My House Cool?
At GreenHomes, we believe the approach for reducing electric costs in your home is simple and straightforward. It all starts with helping homeowners understand the most common underlying causes of energy and identifying the corresponding solutions that will provide the most amount of home comfort.
In order to understand the root causes of home discomfort and why your home does not remain cool, then it is important to learn about the issues that need to be resolved.
How to Reduce Your A/C Costs?
Although it can be quite frustrating to see your summer utility bills rise, the truth about reducing your energy costs is identifying how to reduce the air conditioner. Many homeowners choose to keep the thermostat (and home temperature) up, which causes your home to remain warm and humid.
In order to keep your house cool, reduce utility bills and improve comfort, upgrades to the home and the cooling system need to be considered.
Primarily, limiting the use of the air conditioner.
The first thing to understand about our homes during summer (aka air conditioning season) is that our homes lose much more air to the outside than most people realize. Throughout the summer, cooled air is lost to the outside through many gaps, cracks and voids connecting your home to the outside.
Your air conditioner works hard to cool the air in your home and it literally floats away, which costs homeowners in extra energy consumption and higher bills.
Plus, a lack of insulation hurts homes throughout the summer. Yes, home insulation works in the summer!
The insulation slows the heat gained from the attic, walls and floors. As the summer heats the outside of your home, the house absorbs the heat, which may cause uncomfortable conditions, condensation problems and high air conditioning bills.
Finally, air leaks in the ductwork lead to more wasted money.
As your air conditioner works to cool the home, air leaks in ductwork can lose some of the cooled air before it ever has a chance to air condition your home. This cold air from your air conditioning system is expensive but is too often lost to the outside before it has a chance to cool you on a hot day!
How to Use an A/C Effectively?
Now that you understand some of the wasted energy and money that excessive use of an air conditioner, how should homeowners use A/Cs effectively? Install an energy efficient A/C.
New residential central air conditioners are required to be rated for efficiency in terms of Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
For example, a central air conditioner that operates at 15 SEER removes 15 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed. Compare this to a 10 SEER central air conditioner that removes 10 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed.
GreenHomes recommends central air conditioners have a 15 SEER efficiency rating or higher when replacing an older air conditioning system. There are other ways to effectively keep your house cool through your A/C.
- Programmable Thermostats
Adjusting temperatures during the day or night based on when your family is home will save additional money on cooling bills.
- Upgrade Windows
Old, inefficient, leaky windows can also contribute to high cooling bills and poor comfort conditions in homes during the summer. New windows are rated in terms of Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which measures how well a window can resist heat gain.
In Southern climates, this is especially important during summer. Keep in mind that the lower the SHGC number, the less heat will be coming into the home from the sun’s rays.
What are the Next Steps to Reduce Your Bills & Keep Your House Cool?
In order to properly understand how to reduce your reliance on the A/C to cool your home, then GreenHomes recommends getting a quality energy audit for your home.
When done properly, an energy audit pinpoints the true sources of wasted energy in your home. As a result, you will have a roadmap to reduce your air conditioning costs while improving comfort in the summertime at the same time!
10 Tips to Keep Your House Cool
In addition to completing a home energy audit, here are some simple tips to reduce your cooling costs. It is advisable to open a dialogue with your energy auditor to see which of the following makes the most sense for your home:
- Use a programmable thermostat wisely.
- Air seal your home professionally.
- Add insulation after air sealing.
- Insulate previously uninsulated areas.
- Upgrade to a high-efficiency cooling system.
- Seal air leaks in ductwork.
- Insulate ductwork.
- Replace old, leaky windows.
- Re-weatherstrip leaky doors.
- Add shade or awnings (where applicable).
Once you’ve selected a course of action, determine if any of the work can be done yourself (such as weather-stripping doors or programming your thermostat). For any actions you cannot complete, then it is worth your time and money to select a qualified installation contractor to perform the work.
Tips to Find a Qualified Energy Consultant
Selecting a qualified contractor can be a challenging task. Simply selecting the low-bid contractor isn’t always the wisest decision. Factors to be considered here include:
- How experienced is the contractor (how long have they been in business and how many similar projects have they done)?
- Are they licensed?
- Is the contractor Insured?
- Do they have any certifications or accreditations?
- Did they share referrals or testimonials with you?
- What is their Better Business Rating?
- What is their responsiveness to phone calls?
At GHA, we believe it is easier for homeowners to plan home energy projects and then execute them to get long lasting results! For example, a little work this year will pay dividends and keep your house cool for next year and beyond!