Millions of people across the world have shifted to working primarily from home, and it’s no different in St. Paul, MN. For all the perks that go along with working from home – like being home for the air conditioning service appointment – there are some caveats. For example, you may not have to commute to work, but your home’s appliances are being used more, enduring a higher-than-normal amount of wear and tear.
Aside from your more frequent use of appliances, you’re also likely racking up substantial utility bills. Now that someone is home almost all the time, the lights are on more frequently, more water is being used between laundry and dishes, and someone is always watching television.
With summer right around the corner, it’s reasonable to expect a significant increase in your household’s cooling costs as well. St. Paul, MN summers bring scorching temperatures and stifling humidity, and air conditioning units work overtime. At Blue Ox Heating & Air, we’ve put together some tips to help keep your home’s energy costs reasonable. Following these will also keep your AC unit in tip-top condition and may prevent you from needing to call for emergency air conditioning service.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat saves about 10% a year on cooling and heating costs. It allows you to set your thermostat higher while you’re away from home or asleep. A difference of just 2-3 degrees results in substantial savings, so consider setting the temperature 5-8 degrees higher during those times to maximize your savings.
There are plenty of easy-to-install programmable thermostats available, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, an air conditioning service company can install it.
Keep It Dark
Having your home’s blinds and curtains open to let the natural light in is a great way to brighten up your living space, but it also increases solar heat gain. Essentially, solar heat gain is what occurs as a door or window warms up. As it gets hotter, it acts as an oven, radiating heat into your home.
To minimize this, air conditioning service professionals recommend installing reflective window treatments and keeping windows covered in warm weather months.
Use Ceiling Fans
Circulating fans almost immediately make a room feel more comfortable temperature-wise. Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans don’t actually cool rooms themselves. Instead, they circulate air around the room, dispersing the cold air and balancing the temperature. Using fans in conjunction with air conditioning can result in substantial savings, as you’ll be able to keep your thermostat set to a slightly higher temperature.
There is a huge range of ceiling fans available and some are definitely more efficient and effective than others. If you’re not sure which styles are right for your home, contact your local air conditioning service company. They may also have installation tips!
Avoid Using Heat-conducting Appliances
Using your oven, stove, dishwasher, or dryer generates a ton of heat inside your home. Believe it or not, so do televisions. To prevent this, simply use these appliances less – particularly during the hottest part of the day and on excessively warm days. Use your grill to cook and consider doing laundry and dishes in the early mornings or evenings, when it’s still cool outside.
Hot showers can also heat up a large area for several hours. If you can’t avoid taking a steamy shower during the day, be sure to use the bathroom’s exhaust fan to help dissipate the heat and moisture in the air.
Trees are something landscapers and air conditioning service technicians don’t agree on. Landscapers see them as hard work, while A/C repairmen see them as a form of energy efficiency. You see, trees can shade your home, blocking the sun’s rays and keeping the house cooler.
When the sun shines directly into windows or on a rooftop, the home heats up quickly. With a large shade tree providing cover, it acts as a barrier and can keep the inside of your home several degrees cooler. Likewise, planting a tree to provide shade to your air conditioning unit can help it run more efficiently. At a slightly cooler temperature and without the sun beating down directly onto it, the A/C doesn’t have to work quite as hard to operate properly.
There are other benefits to planting trees as well (just ask your air conditioning service tech!). They emit clean oxygen, provide homes for birds and other small animals, and have even been shown to boost happiness.
Prioritize Air Conditioning Service
People don’t tend to give much thought to their air conditioning unit until something’s gone wrong with it. However, routine preventive maintenance can go a very long way. It can extend the lifespan of your unit, as well as help it run more efficiently, reducing your home’s energy costs.
Depending on the type of air conditioning unit your home has, replace or clean your air filters every month. Also be sure that the unit itself is free from debris. This is a bit easier than it sounds, as oftentimes tree branches and debris fall onto the top of it or nearby foliage gets overgrown and encroaches onto the unit. If you’re concerned about remembering these things, set a recurring monthly alarm to change your air filter and give your A/C unit a quick inspection at the same time.
Even the most well-maintained air conditioning units sometimes have problems. Whether you encounter a one-time issue or would like to have your unit inspected for the summer, contact the air conditioning service professionals at Blue Ox Heating & Air in the St. Paul, MN area. We serve the entire Minneapolis-St. Paul area and will come to you whenever you need us – even if that happens to be at 2:00 am! We look forward to meeting you and in the meantime, stay cool.