It’s been a steamy summer here in Charleston, and we still have a while to go before the heat lets up. When high temps and super humid days are the norm, it can be tempting to crank the air conditioning way up and just chill out on the couch. But when your electricity bill arrives, you might end up regretting that somewhat. The fact is that the harder your air conditioner works, the higher your bills are going to be. In many cases, forcing the a/c to work overtime can also wreak havoc on your HVAC system, and we all know how expensive those repairs can be. So how do you keep cool without overworking your air conditioner and spending an arm and a leg? Let’s look at a few tips.

Don’t turn off your A/C.

If you’re air conditioner’s not actively working, you must be saving money, right? Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Turning the a/c off completely allows the air inside your house to get too warm, meaning the system has to work harder and longer to cool it off. A good rule of thumb is to keep the temperature within a 10-degree range at all times. This ensures your HVAC system will work more efficiently.

Install a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats are great tools for making sure the temperature in your home stays comfortable without taking a toll on your HVAC system. Simply enter a temperature range, and the smart thermostat will make sure to keep things working within that range. Some will let you program temperature ranges based on time of day, and some even sense when no one’s home and adjust accordingly.

Boost your airflow with fans.

Run ceiling fans (or box fans or oscillating fans) to help boost the air circulation in your home and create breezes for immediate personal cooling.

Keep exterior doors closed and interior doors open.

Obviously you want to keep the cool air inside. Closing exterior doors—even if you have storm doors—is a good idea, especially during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day. Interior doors, however, should be kept open to promote even airflow throughout the house.

Make sure your air filter is clean.

No matter how clean you keep your house, dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris can build up on your air filter. This prevents air from flowing freely and causes your air conditioner to work harder. Change your filters once every three months to make sure your system keeps running efficiently.

Block out the sun.

If a room gets direct sunlight at any part of the day, it’s going to be warmer. Keep blinds, shades, or drapes closed to keep the sun from working against your a/c unit. You might even want to consider springing for window tinting in those rooms.

Keep up with maintenance.

One of the most important things you can do for your HVAC system is to keep up with maintenance and cleaning. Schedule a yearly appointment for a technician to come out and perform an inspection and routine maintenance. This will help keep everything ship-shape and nip a lot of preventable issues in the bud.


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