With the heat of summer already here in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley, there’s a good chance your AC has already been running full throttle. The workload is only going to continue to rise as the summer progresses, which has many people concerned about what their electricity bills will end up looking like. While there’s no getting around the fact that keeping your home cool is an essential part of summer comfort, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to do so. Think your energy bills are high now? Just wait until August.
So, what can you do to take some of the pressure off your air conditioner this summer? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.
Focus on the Building Envelope
The “building envelope” may sound like a confusing term at face value, but it’s really nothing more than what separates the conditioned parts of your home from its unconditioned spaces—the area between your living room and your garage, for example. When the home envelope is tightly knit, it stands a much better chance of keeping your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the summer months. Many homes are riddled with cracks and gaps, however, which can disrupt the effectiveness of the envelope and put extra pressure on your AC.
By installing high-performance insulation and sealing these cracks and gaps, you can vastly improve the tightness of your home, thus making life easier on your air conditioner.
Keep Internal Loads Low
Improving the building envelope is certainly one of the most effective ways to enhance home performance during both the summer and winter months, but it’s not the only step you can take.
You can get a lot of mileage out of taking smaller steps to reduce internal loads, many of which you may not even realize exist in the first place. Any electronics, lighting or electrical appliances throughout the home should be turned off whenever they’re not in use, and appliances that create heat—washers and dryers, for example—should be run during the morning before the hot afternoon sun begins to bear down. Use exhaust fans whenever possible, too, as this will help to decrease indoor temperatures to a manageable degree.
Finally, ensure that all of your appliances are ENERGY STAR-certified, as only this type of equipment is suitable for keeping energy costs down across the board.