With warmer months approaching, it is important to make sure your home and air conditioner are ready for the heat. As you try to stay cool this summer, here are some tips to help you maximize your air conditioner's effectiveness, save money on your energy bill, and keep your home as cool as possible.
Maintain Your AC Unit
One of the first things you should take care of at the beginning of the warmer season is to prepare your home's outside AC unit. Take some time to clean out any vegetation from around the unit, including last year's dried vegetation remains. Your AC unit needs proper ventilation around its exterior for it to pull in air into its compressor. When the exterior gets clogged and plugged with leaves, dried vegetation, or even trash, this can lower the efficiency of your unit and raise your utility costs. Make sure your AC unit has at least two feet of space on all sides.
Be sure to replace your AC unit's filters every one to two months to keep the air flowing smoothly through your AC's blower. You may want to consider having a professional HVAC technician come to your home to complete a full service tune-up on your unit to make sure it is ready for use.
Shade Your AC Unit
After you have cleared around and prepped your AC unit for summer, you should consider planting some shade trees around your AC unit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, shading your air conditioner with trees can make it up to ten percent more efficient. This will help your home stay cooler and save on your energy costs.
Be sure to plant trees at least two feet away from your AC unit so they don't get in the way of your compressor's ventilation. Then, place the trees in a southern, south-eastern, and south-western direction of your air conditioner unit to provide shade throughout the day, unless your ac unit is on the north side of your home. Placement of your unit on the north side of your home can provide continual shade onto your AC unit all day.
Shade Your Home
After you have taken care of your outside unit's compressor, there are several steps you can do to your home to keep it cooler. A home that stays cooler won't require your AC unit to work as hard.
Install Exterior Window Awnings
Your home's windows can be a large cause of heat gain during the summer, especially when they are south-eastern, southern, and south-western facing. Indoor window blinds can help keep some heat out, but by the time the sunlight hits your window blinds, the sunlight and heat are already inside your home. It is best to prevent the sunlight and heat from entering your home's windows by installing outdoor window shades or awnings. By shading your window from incoming light, you can keep your interior cooler without blocking all the natural light from entering as blinds and curtains can do.
You can have professional exterior window awnings installed on your home's exterior, or you can install temporary awnings yourself. You can find various types of outdoor awnings at most home improvement stores. If you have an outdoor sun shade umbrella, you can use it to shade the light from your home's window.
Another cause of your home being warmed in summer is from your home's exterior absorbing the sun's heat, which then releases it into your home. Planting trees around your home can shade and cool the air around them, as they prevent the ground and your home's exterior from being heated from the sun's rays. The shade provided by a tree in full bloom in your yard can block over 70 percent of solar radiation from entering your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you only need to plant three trees to save you from $100 to $250 each year in your home's cooling costs. This can save you as much as 50 percent on your home's air conditioning costs.
Use these steps to help keep your home cool, help out your home's air conditioner, and lower your energy bills this summer.