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Keeping your home nice and cool throughout the blistering summer months – or year-round, depending on where you’re based – can cost an arm and a leg. Although air conditioning is nothing short of a necessity in many areas, running your A/C around the clock stands to rack of up a bundle in monthly utility costs. While there’s no getting around the fact that indoor climate control costs money, many of us are overspending on home cooling without even realizing it. If manageable cooling costs are what you’re after, avoid the following behaviors.
Not Having Central A/C Units Annually Serviced
A good central air conditioner should be viewed as a long-term investment. The more care and maintenance a central A/C system receives, the longer you can expect it to last, thereby maximizing the return you’ll see on this investment. Conversely, the less care and maintenance you give your central A/C, the more apt it is to break down and find itself beset by a host of serious issues, thereby resulting in exorbitant repair costs and potentially even causing the system to die well before its time. You should pay close attention to when you will need repairs for your A/C but more so think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
This is where annual maintenance visits can come in handy. Having your central A/C serviced on an annual basis will help ensure that small problems are caught early on and the system continues running at peak efficiency. (Depending on how hot the weather gets in your neck of the woods, multiple service visits per year may be required.) However, since annual service visits cost money, many homeowners are content with skipping. While wanting to save money is understandable, spending a little now stands to save you a lot later – and when it comes to home cooling, it’s best to think long term.
Using Non-Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
At this point, there’s simply no benefit to using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Yes, they cost a little less than energy-efficient bulbs, but these savings are strictly short-term. Not only do they have much shorter lifespans than their energy-efficient counterparts, they consume more power and produce a great deal more heat. Needless to say, if your goal is to cool off your residence, heat-producing bulbs are unlikely to serve you well.
On the flipside, energy-efficient LED and CFL bulbs consume less power and produce far less heat than incandescents. Also, while they cost a little more upfront, their lengthy lifespans ensure that you’ll ultimately get more for your money. So, for the sake of reducing your household’s environmental impact and preserving your financial resources, swap out any remaining incandescent bulbs in your home with LEDs or CFLs.
Leaving Window Drafts Unsealed
Even if your windows are securely shut, you stand to lose a considerable amount of indoor through them. In addition to being wasteful, this facilitates the need for your central A/c system to put forth additional effort, which can lead to increased cooling costs. Windows with unsealed drafts can be particularly conducive to lost air.
You get a handle on this problem by installing heat-reflecting film on your home’s windows. Not only will this serve to seal drafts, it will also minimize the amount of outside air that’s able to find its way into your residence. For good measure, consider replacing your current window dressings with thermal curtains.
Failing to Properly Maintain Single Room A/C Units
If you use single room air conditioners instead of a central A/C unit, it’s imperative that you properly maintain them. Failure to do so not only stands to reduce their lifespans, it can also make them less effective. This is why you should thoroughly clean your single room units quarterly or semiannually. Staying on top of cleaning and other unit maintenance can help you get the most out of your air conditioners and ensure that they remain in peak condition. If you’re unclear on how to properly clean or inspect single room A/C units, it may be best to farm it out to a seasoned pro.
Home cooling costs stand to gobble up a significant portion of your monthly income. This is doubly true for people who hail from areas with extreme summers and/or summer-like weather year-round. While it can’t be denied that home cooling can be pricey, many of us are actively making the problem worse without even realizing it. In the interest of keeping your cooling costs in check from here on out, stop engaging in the behaviors discussed above.