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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

5 Mistakes You’re Probably Making With Your AC Unit

Once considered a luxurious feat of science, controlling temperature for your home with an affordable AC unit is now an everyday expectation, but still one that requires a bit more attention than you may be giving it to keep your home nice and cool.

There have been many advances in HVAC technology through the decades, since the first modern electrical air conditioning units to hit the market in the early 1900s. A century later, nearly 50 percent of all energy consumption in American homes is a result of cooling and heat, according to the Energy Information Administration. It’s hard not to take for granted all the advancements that led to the modern AC unit that cools your home today, all of which must be more diligently cared for than most homeowners understand.

A little TLC for your AC unit can go a long way in ultimately saving you a lot of time, money and hassle.   

Start Handling Your AC Unit Like a Pro and Stop Doing These 5 Things

You’re Not Considering Your Way Of Life

While AC units may seem like a “one size fits all” appliance, each home and the family that lives therein affects how to adjust, clean and manage it. If you have pets or many individuals living in the home, extra dust, dander and dirt will likely circulate through the ventilation system. Smoke in the home, from either cigarettes or a fireplace, will tax your AC unit further. If you live in an arid climate, or if you simply prefer a cooler home, you probably run the AC unit six or more months out of the year. Thankfully, it’s easy to manage your AC unit to accommodate all these lifestyle choices — simply chance the air filters in the AC unit once per month. Otherwise, if your home is free of pets, smoke and excess debris, simply change the filter every ten weeks.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 37% of homes in the Midwest use central air conditioning all summer, twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week, which jeopardizes both the condition of your AC unit as well as the state of your wallet from all those electricity bills. In the Southern states, that rate nearly doubles to 67%.

To prepare for summer, it’s recommended to set the thermostat of your AC unit higher at night than when you’re awake, as your body can tolerate the difference much more comfortably while you’re asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

You’re Treating Your Thermostat Like A Television Remote

As nearly every ‘90s sitcom portrayed, fidgeting with the thermostat can cause a lot of household drama, but every change to the AC unit has greater effects, too. According to Reliant Energy, you’ll cut up to 3% off your AC bill for every degree you raise the temperature. One can easily cut their costs by 10% without hardly breaking a sweat. Additionally, if you wish to cool your home considerably right away, resist the urge to dial your AC unit far lower than you actually want it to be. Patience is not simply a virtue — it’s also a requirement for treating your AC unit properly.

More than anything, however, it’s recommended to install a programmable thermostat that lets you set your AC unit to cool the house at lower temperatures while you’re home and higher temperatures while you’re away. According to the EIA, less than 50% of homes in the Midwest have a programmable thermostat to manage their AC unit, which are designed specifically to reduce consumption by automatically and routinely lowering the temperature whenever necessary. Plus, with the rise of smart technology and mobile compatibility, many such programmable thermostats may be managed while out of the home, making it a doubly sensible investment.

You’re Not Properly Accounting For Drainage, Leakage & Water

As with many modern appliances, your AC unit does more for your home than you may think. In addition to keeping it cool, the AC unit also removes moisture from the air to decrease the humidity level in the house. Over time, that moisture accrues into condensed water that drains from the AC unit through a pipe that leads outside the home.

While a great convenience, this extra moisture can also account for extra hassle if not monitored and managed properly. If the water is not effectively drained from the AC unit, a flood of problems may seep into your home. Improper insulation on indoor tubing may lead to beads of moisture that drip as the AC unit runs, which can easily go unnoticed until water damage has already occurred. Further, drain pipes that don’t successfully carry the water from the AC unit to a clear and suitable exit can result in extensive damage and costly repairs. Thankfully, it’s an easy problem to avoid with simple vigilance. Check the drain pipe often, especially after storms, construction or other circumstances that may have caused structural change to your home’s fixtures and ensure the drain pipe is indeed draining all the excess water unimpeded. If the end is at all obstructed, the water, as well as yard waste and debris, will clog the drain pipes, damage the AC unit and compromise the structural integrity of your home as well.

You’ve Not Accounted For Positioning

Though you may want to consider décor as you select the placement for your thermostat and AC unit, pragmatism should take precedent over prettiness. If positioned in direct sunlight or lamplight, the thermostat may be adversely affected and even misread the temperature of the home, causing you to twist the dials far more than you may have intended. Additionally, ensure furniture, curtains and belongings do not obstruct any of the AC vents, as these may limit air circulation. Finally, for the households with outdoor condenser cabinets for their AC units, you may be tempted to hide the appliance behind shrubbery or decoration; however, it is recommended to give it two feet of clearance on all sides to permit the fan to properly circulate air and release heat.

Though it may not be the most decorative addition to your home, your AC unit must be given just as much consideration as any other household fixture, if not more, to guarantee a safe and comfortable home.

You’re Not Giving Your AC Unit Proper Care

Whether you consider yourself a DIY homeowner or if you’re more comfortable holding the flashlight for someone else to do the dirty work, it’s easier than many may think to keep your AC unit up to snuff.

Change the filter at least every ten weeks and as often as once a month, as a dirty filter can lead to much more damage, such as freezing the AC unit’s evaporator coil and adding up to 15% to your air conditional bill, according to Purdue University’s engineering staff. Additionally, scrub and soap-up the fins of your AC unit, an easy project we walk you through on our site [link: https://stadtlerhvac.com/services/air-conditioning-maintenance/]

Though a simple task, even the hardiest of homeowners needs to have the AC unit serviced professionally periodically, no matter how chill they like to keep it.

Reduce Summer Energy Costs with These Hacks

All of you who love to open your energy bill and see a ridiculous increase in your monthly costs, please raise your hand. We didn’t think so. Every summer, millions of Americans experience just that, muttering profanities under their breath, staring in disbelief, trying to decipher kilowatt hours and their summer energy costs. Following those profanities, they consider implementing a household ban: no soul shall touch the air conditioner or the fan, we will roast alive instead.

Such drastic measures aren’t necessary: there are quite a few ways to reduce summer energy costs and save your wallet from the perils of ballooning energy bills. Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption in general, or you simply want to lend Mother Earth a helping hand, Stadtler is here to help.

 

Windows

For many climates, running your air conditioning throughout the evening just isn’t necessary: the cool nighttime air and lack of sun can do wonders for naturally cooling your home. Turn off your AC and open your windows at night, and, in the morning, shut your windows and drapes to trap the cool air already circulating within.

 

Furthermore, you can install window treatments or awnings to shade your windows, a strategy that will not only provide a little decorating pop but add some tremendous shading power. Some awnings have been proven to reduce solar heat by an astonishing 65-75%! Compared to older models, today’s awnings are much more efficient and last substantially longer. Opt for units that are water repellent, mold resistant, and light-colored—lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight than their darker counterparts. Ensure that your selection has proper ventilation in the form of eyelets or grommets so that air can flow through. As well, look for models that roll up or retract in the winter so you can capture sunlight to warm your home when you need it.

 

Leakage

Window leaks are more common than you would imagine, especially if you have older windows. Search for leaks and seal them ( conversely, this will be of great importance as you seek to heat your home come winter). Make sure to purchase a door stopper to line the bottom of any doors may that leak air.

 

Drapes

summer, energy, costs, curtain

Closing blinds and drapes is an excellent technique for avoiding the direct sunlight that turns homes into broilers. If you can stand a little summer darkness, awesome: draw your blinds and drapes. If you must bask in daylight, try drawing the blinds and closing curtains in rooms that are not being used. This action alone is perfect for countering the sun’s greenhouse effect.

 

Air Conditioning

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s recommended that you set your AC to 78 degrees during the summer months (if you can stand it, set it a bit higher). The goal is to create the least amount of difference between the soaring outside temperatures and your home’s interior, the result being lower energy bills from an AC unit that isn’t working overtime to cool your home. This little technique alone can amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year. When you’re more interested in maximizing savings as opposed to turning your home into a meat locker, this strategy will give you the most bang for your energy saving buck.

 

But how often do you clean your air conditioner? Are you growing a two-inch thick layer of dust over your filter, forcing your unit to work harder as a result? Be sure to clean your unit’s filter at least once a month to keep it running at optimum levels.

 

When using window AC units, check for leakage around the window units and plug accordingly, as you don’t want your precious cool air escaping outside.

 

And of course, there’s no reason to cool rooms that aren’t being used, which include empty guest rooms and vacant bedrooms. Close vents, close doors, let your unused rooms cook.

 

Water Heaters

During the summer months, you’re far more likely to enjoy a cool shower, especially after spending a day in the blistering summer heat. Consider turning down the heat on your water heater during the summer months to a range of 115 to 120 degrees, another significant contribution to reducing your summer energy bills.

 

Put Your Ceiling Fan To Work

energy, heating, summer

Is it always necessary to run your air conditioner? Probably not. Instead, your ceiling fan can put in some serious work when it comes to keeping your home cool, especially when paired with cooler evening air. One of the most important things that people forget during the summer months is the following: switch your fans so they rotate in a counter-clockwise movement, which forces cool air downward. The counterclockwise direction is optimal for the summer months, while the opposite is optimal for cooler seasons. As well, there’s no need to have your fan running with no one benefitting from it. If you’re the last person out of the room, be sure to turn the fan off.

 

Cooking

If you’re baking casseroles and cupcakes in the summer, your house is going to feel like the Mojave. Cooking warms your home significantly in the summer. But one must eat, of course. Instead of running the oven or stove, grill outside, a delicious alternative where you can cook a substantial amount food at one time (great for freezing and eating throughout the week) without turning the whole house into a sauna.

 

Unplug and Save

If you want to save a little extra on your summer energy bills, unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used on a regular basis. These sleeping electronics contribute significantly to your energy costs over the summer through a process called “phantom load”—engery usage during non-use. If you’re using surge protectors, flick off the power to several unused items with the press of a button.

 

Appliances & Technology

Most modern technology is Energy Star certified, but you may have some pieces in your home that are not. Consider upgrading the usual suspects—refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.— to ensure that they adhere to the EPA’s energy efficiency guidelines. This action is not only great for keeping your costs down, but also for the environment.

 

Secondly, manually managing your thermostat on a daily basis is completely old school. If possible, upgrade to a programmable unit that will take the repetition and guesswork from the equation and help you put your energy saving techniques on autopilot.

 

And don’t forget the light bulbs! If you haven’t already, replace your current fleet of light bulbs with Energy Star rated models. Also, fluorescent lights are known to generate less heat than other model bulbs.

 

Together, these energy and cost-reducing tactics will help reduce your summer energy costs and save you from the weak knees and dizziness resulting from opening a massive power bill. When you’ve leveraged all of these summer energy hacks and it comes time to do some serious cooling work, be sure to remember your friends at Stadler Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Illinois community’s heating, cooling, and air quality needs for decades and would love the opportunity to help you tackle the summer heat.

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