Keeping your Air Conditioning bill on the lower end without suffocating, excuse the pun!
As Canadians, we await summer with great anticipation. Long summer days, bbq, camping, outdoors fun and the list goes on. As much we love soaking the sun and all of it’s fuzzy warm pleasures, the heat is unbearable indoors without a proper air conditioning unit. As per stats Canada, in 2009, 74% of Ontario home reported having some types of air conditioning system. I can only imagine how much higher this percentage is now given the constant increase in temperatures every summer.
First time home buyers experiencing their first summer as home owners or veterans moving to a bigger house are always unimpressed with their first electrical bill of the summer. With an attempt to regulate indoor temperatures, comes rising electrical bills. This for many creates a havoc in their monthly budget. An air conditioning unit, unequivocally, uses a lot of electricity and it being a basic need does not really help. There are thankfully ways of maintaining a pleasant temperature while somewhat reducing your electrical bills during those hazy long hot summer days. While in an ideal world, we would have liked to use alternative solutions, energy -conserving outlets or solar panels are too expensive, labour intensive and time consuming to invest into. Without having to make major changes in the ways we consume electricity, we have to concentrate on more efficient ways of energy consumption in an attempt of lowering electricity bills. Whether you live in the GTA like us or in regions where is constantly hot, either way you can use the thermostat more efficiently with simple tricks.
Keep your vents open and clean
During our habitual home inspections, one of the duties of the home inspector is to verify the AC unit. Home inspectors check all the vents in a house to make sure that they are all open and blockage free. You will be surprised of how many people closes vents in an attempt to save energy. That’s actually a myth, It has the opposite effect. Make sure that all the vents in your house is in fact open. It will help the unit perform at its best capacity and prevents the unit from running after it reaches its target temperature.
Additionally, vents have filters to keep dirt, dust and uninvited breathing nuisances out of your lungs. Those filters should be replaced monthly. Just make a monthly ritual to replace them. You can pick up a bulk pack for your local hardware store. Alternatively, you can buy a couple of reusable filters. These require a little more work as you are required to clean the filth. Just make sure to measure the size of your vent so you get the right size.
If your know a thing or two about air conditioning and heating, you might think that these a very basic tips and a little too obvious. I can assure you that a lot of homeowners either forget about this little insignificant steps, or simply have never heard of them. In any case in a good reminder for everyone.
Promote better airflow in your home
Trapping the right temperature in your home often requires little more than good airflow. Unless you have a very small living space, even central air and heat can have a tough time keeping each room at the same, steady temperature. If you remember that heat rises, you already know how to fix this problem. When it’s hot, the heat will escape through the higher parts of your home (whether that means the ceiling or another floor). You want to help it out faster by pushing the air upwards. When it’s cold, you don’t want that heat to escape so you need to push it back down. Fans make both tasks easily achievable.
Chances are you have a few standing fans in your home that require far less power than your air conditioning or heating system. Fans don’t cool or heat the air, but they do move it around. When air in your home circulates properly, it’s easier to maintain an even temperature and that means less work for your heating/cooling system. Position the fans so they move the air in the direction you want it to go. Simply moving the air all around your home (circulating it) will do the trick, but if you want to trap hot air you should push it down and push it up if you want to remove it.
Widow coverings, room darkening and awnings
Beautiful window coverings are more than just ornaments. Apart from the element of privacy, they bring shade to your interior. Depending on the quality of the fabric or material of drapes and blinds, it can significantly lower the temperature of the room and eventually the entire house. This in turn helps to maintain an ideal indoor temperature and not over working your air conditioning unit. Before investing into window coverings, I always recommend shopping around for quality and it’s ability to cool down the house.
If your house is positioned in such a way that exposes it to direct sunlight through out the day, then it is worth your while to look into electric awnings. It will help reduce the sunlight exposes and in turn keep the air conditioning unit from over working itself. Lab test measurements show that it can keep temperatures as 20 degrees cooler under an awning’s canopy. That’s significant plus the added benefit of a pleasant backyard shade!
While these little tweaks might save you you in the long run, they are generally good practices. Once you start with the smaller steps, they generally become second nature and assist you with the bigger changes. Hopefully at the end, they all save you some mulla when it comes to your air conditioning bill!
List of local businesses:
Shades of Home Custom Window Treatments – 1200 Speers Road, Oakville
Shades ‘N’ Shutters – 276 Kerr St, Oakville
Gallagher’s Awnings Ltd. – 790 REDWOOD SQUARE, UNIT 15, Oakville
Downey Awnings – 1290 Speers Rd Unit 1, Oakville
Abbey Air Service Experts – 1200 S Service Rd W #1
Appleby Systems – 2086 Speers Rd, Oakville, ON L6L 2X8