The peak cooling season in Florida is rapidly approaching, and this means that your power bills are about to skyrocket. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your energy costs manageable, and some of them are simple and inexpensive. Here are four ways to boost cooling efficiency.
#1 – Invest in Solar Screens
The US Department of Energy suggests that solar screens can be an especially effective way to boost cooling efficiency in very warm climates – like Florida – especially when installed on windows that face east and west. These specially-designed screens are designed to intercept the sun’s energy before it can penetrate the windows and enter your home. In fact, per their studies, they can capture up to 70% of the heat energy that may otherwise get inside your home. If solar screens aren’t an option, you might also consider UV-blocking window films that can provide much the same results.
#2 – Install a Programmable Thermostat
The US Department of Energy also suggests that simply installing an inexpensive programmable thermostat can boost your cooling efficiency and lower your costs by anywhere from 5% to 15%. You can program this thermostat to increase the temperature while you’re away from home, and then cool the house down again while you’re on your way back. You’ll never notice the difference, but your energy bills certainly will. A mid-grade programmable thermostat costs about $50, and when you use it as directed, it’ll pay for itself in just a few months’ time.
#3 – Insulate Your Ducts
Problems can arise if your ducts aren’t properly insulated, and this is especially true if your ducts run in a hot crawlspace, basement, or attic. Insulating your ducts can keep more of the cooled air inside your ducts all while decreasing condensation, which can create problems related to moisture. Fiberglass insulation can certainly do the trick, but these days, you can find insulation products made specifically for ductwork in most home improvement stores. It’s a bit of an investment upfront, especially if you hire someone to install it, but it’ll certainly pay for itself over time with lower energy bills and improved comfort.
#4 – Ventilate Your Attic
Finally, if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, then it’s likely retaining quite a bit of heat. Even if your ceilings are properly insulated, the truth is that this heat will still find its way into your home, which can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to do its job. Ventilating your attic with soffit vents or even fans can make a tremendous difference in the amount of heat trapped inside your attic, and in turn, boost cooling efficiency since your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool.
Any of these tips can certainly boost cooling efficiency, but if you really want to see a difference in your energy bills – and feel more comfortable in your home – then make it a point to accomplish as many as you possibly can. It may be an investment now, but your energy bills and your air conditioner will thank you.