Three tips to lower your AC costs
It’s summer in Houston -- a time of year when the sun is out and the air is downright swampy -- so keeping your home cool is important for your families’ comfort. But along with the comfort of a cool home comes the sting each month of an ever-increasing electric bill.
Utility bills soar in the summer due to the millions of Houstonians trying to beat the heat. Yet for all of the stress of rising energy costs, many don’t know the little things they can do to save money on their monthly cooling bills.
Here are a few money-saving tips for your home’s air conditioning:
- Use your programmable thermostat. Most homes built in the last ten years will have a programmable thermostat. Even if you don’t already have one, finding and installing one can happen in an afternoon. Yet many homeowners don’t actually take the time to program it, even though the cost and energy savings can really add up. Don’t make this mistake.
- Keep lamps, TVs and other electronics away from your thermostat, as they can warm the area around them, making your thermostat think it still needs to pump out the cold air.
- Keep your system clean and replace your filter. This one is important because the filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your system, which means its job is to get dirty. The dirtier it gets, the less efficient it becomes, as your system has to work harder to push air through.
Air filters should be replaced at minimum of every three months (more frequently if you have pets in the house), especially when your system is running more often, like in the summer. A clean system is an efficient system, and efficiency saves you money.
Is air duct cleaning worthwhile? That's debatable. There's no scientific proof that routine duct cleaning actually makes indoor air cleaner -- but many homeowners say they can tell the difference.
What a Houston air duct cleaner can do is remove excess buildups of dust in the system, as well as spot potential problems like mold or insect and rodent infestation, giving air a passage as wide and clear as I-59 at midnight.
One thing you can do is simply open up a few vents and take a look; if you see something you want removed, call a Houston air duct cleaner.
But beware of “blow and go” duct cleaners who offer extremely cheap cleaning in order to get in the door. Some of these companies either don't actually do much cleaning, or they use the opportunity to upsell you. A good air duct cleaning will take two workers roughly four hours to complete. Otherwise, you are wasting money and potentially damaging your system.
For more, check out Angie's List's Duct Tales graphic with more information on air duct cleaning, what to look for in your vents and what to look for in a professional cleaner.