Summer in Minnesota presents homeowners with a dilemma: Do you crank up your A/C to stay cool, or do you scrimp on the thermostat to keep your energy bills down? The good news is that it doesn’t always have to be either/or. There are a few easy ways you can make your air conditioning more effective so that you can keep cool while cutting your energy spending this summer.
Give Your A/C Some Space
When landscaping, many homeowners crowd their outdoor A/C units with shrubbery or flowers in an effort to make the unsightly piece of equipment more appealing. We know that having a hunk of metal in the midst of your flower garden is an eyesore, but surrounding your unit with plants will block the airflow, reducing the efficiency and making your air conditioner work harder. Not only will this cost you more by increasing your monthly energy bill, but it will reduce your unit’s lifespan and you’ll find yourself replacing your air conditioner more quickly.
Nature’s Air Conditioning
On the subject of landscaping, while plants crowding your air conditioning unit will increase energy expenses, planting large foliage around your house near windows can actually help to lower your energy bill. Large, leafy plants such as trees can lower the temperature in your house naturally by blocking the sun. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that using exterior shade to cool your home can boost your A/C’s efficiency by up to 10%.
Rearrange to Maximize Airflow
Rearranging your furniture can actually improve your energy expenditure. If there’s a couch or large chest of drawers positioned in front of an air vent, it will obstruct airflow, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Go through your house to check your floor plan for any instances of vent blockage and rearrange accordingly.
Go With The Flow
Fans aren’t just useful for providing cooling relief on a hot, stagnant day—the air flow it creates actually helps circulate the cool air produced by your air conditioner. Because hot air rises, the cool air can become “trapped” along the floor. By circulating it throughout the room, you can get away with setting your thermostat a few degrees warmer because the air your A/C generates will be more effective. You’ll also want to make sure your ceiling fans are set to rotate in the right direction. Blades should lead downward as they spin to create a downward motion of airflow.
Cut Down on Cooking
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” It’s advice for cooks who can’t hack it in the restaurant biz, but it applies here too. Running your oven and stove create a lot of extra heat that will have you sweating over the stovetop in no time. You can’t control the outdoor temperatures, but you can control whether or not you elevate temps with extra sources of heat inside your home. Opt for no-bake or chilled recipes when you can. Instead of firing up the oven to make a box of brownies for a neighborhood barbecue, bring makings for an ice cream sundae bar.
Keep Up With Maintenance & Keep Your Cool
The best long-term solution for keeping your house cool and costs down is to make sure you’re keeping up with regular A/C maintenance. Change your filter once a month. Schedule seasonal inspections. Replace your unit with a more efficient model when it becomes outdated. And if you have any troubles, contact your trusted Bonfe technician for a speedy repair.