With summer fast approaching, you should use this opportunity to prepare your home for the inevitable warm weather. Using your home's central air conditioning unit, you can create a cool and comfortable living space for you and your family. If you aren't careful, though, you could be hit with sky-high utility bills during the summer months. But there are ways to lower your home's cooling costs during the summer, including the following.
#1) Close the Curtains During the Day
Keeping your curtains closed during the day will reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home, which would otherwise heat up your home's interior. For maximum energy efficiency, choose thermal "blackout" curtains. Blackout curtains are designed to block at least 99% of sunlight. By using blackout curtains -- and keeping them closed during the day -- you won't need to use your home's air conditioner as much during the summer.
#2) Inspect Air Vents for Obstructions
Go through your home to inspect the air vents for obstructions. If furniture, laundry, toys or other objects are placed in front of an air vent, it will obstruct the flow of cool air. Remove all obstructions from air vents to achieve proper airflow.
#3) Replace the Air Filter
If you haven't done so already, go ahead and replace the air filter in your home's air conditioning system. Most HVAC experts recommend changing the air filter once every 30 to 60 days. Unfortunately, only a small number of homeowners actually heed this advice, resulting in a dirty air filter that lowers the performance of their home's air conditioning system.
#4) Use Ceiling or Oscillating Fans
While it's no substitution for air conditioning, a ceiling fan or oscillating fan can help cool your home during the summer. Neither type of fan will create cool air. Instead, ceiling fans and oscillating fans create the perception of a cooler living space by blowing cool air around your home.
#5) Program the Thermostat
Don't forget to program the thermostat so that the air conditioner runs when your home is occupied and doesn't run when it's not occupied. If you and your family members leave during the day, there's really no reason to run the air conditioner during these hours. Instead, program your thermostat to only run the air conditioner when your home is occupied.
#6) Keep Doors Closed
Whenever you open an exterior-interior door, some of the cool air inside your home will escape, forcing you to crank up your air conditioner a little more. Therefore, you should try to keep all exterior-interior doors closed as much as possible.