Every summer we face the same dilemma in Arizona: how to keep our homes cool when it’s brutally hot outside without lowering the thermostat and increasing our energy bills.
The good news is that we can take steps to keep our homes cool without touching the thermostat.
As air conditioning can account for 50% or more of our total summer electric bills, according to SRP, the less often we lower the thermostat, the better for us and our air conditioners.
Here are eight ways to stay cool without lowering your thermostat:
The gentle air movement from ceiling fans provides a breeze that can make you feel about 4 degrees cooler. Using fans can also save you money, as they use about one-tenth the electricity of an air conditioner.
Your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard as it would if you were lowering the thermostat and running it more.
Make sure the fan blades run counterclockwise so air blows downward. Turn fans off when you leave the room.
There are many benefits to having a programmable thermostat rather than a manual one. A programmable thermostat lets you have precise temperature control in your home throughout the day.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that installing a programmable thermostat can save you as much as 10% on your energy bills. As much as we run our air conditioners in Arizona, that can be significant savings.
You don’t need to adjust a programmable thermostat because you can pre-set temperatures based on your daily schedule, and you can set multiple temperatures throughout the day.
Pre-setting temperatures means you’ll have the control and the convenience of not worrying about lowering the thermostat.
A programmable thermostat will also lessen the wear and tear on your HVAC system.
Chas Roberts can install a new programmable thermostat in an ideal location in your home.
A poorly maintained air conditioner has to work harder to produce cool air, leading to less efficiency and higher energy bills.
According to energy.gov, neglecting regular A/C maintenance ensures a steady decline in performance and an increase in energy use.
If your A/C unit isn’t running at peak performance, you’ll be tempted to lower the thermostat to get your home cool enough when your air conditioner needs proper maintenance.
Chas Roberts has a 26-point maintenance plan to keep your A/C system in top condition. It includes:
Regular maintenance will keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently throughout the summer.
Direct sunlight generates heat that makes your home feel warmer and makes your air conditioner work harder to keep rooms cool.
Close window treatments during the day in any rooms that receive direct sunlight. Consider installing insulating window treatments to provide even more protection from direct sunlight.
Ensure all doors and windows remain tightly closed when your air conditioner runs.
There’s a reason sunscreens are so widely used in Arizona. They’re effective at reducing sun exposure and can help keep rooms cooler than regular screens.
Installing sunscreens and closing window treatments to direct sunlight are both effective ways to reduce the amount of heat that enters your home.
We may not think of the lights in our home as a heat source, but they are.
Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs generate more heat than LED bulbs. LEDs also use less electricity and last far longer than other bulbs.
LEDs have come down in price in the past few years, and there are now all types of LED bulbs, including dimmable bulbs.
If you’re still using incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, consider upgrading to LEDs.
The less heat you generate, the cooler your home will be.
Your air conditioner is designed to circulate air with the vents open, so no more than 10% of the vents in your home should be closed when your A/C runs.
Closed vents can create a pressure imbalance that can cause leaks in the ductwork.
Leaving the indoor doors open also allows air to flow freely, which keeps your home cooler.
Use vent fans in bathrooms during showers and the laundry room when the dryer runs to get hot air out of your home. Use the hood vent over the stove when cooking to remove the hot air.
Use attic fans to vent hot air out of the attic that would otherwise seep into your home.
When you vent the hot air out, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool.
Even well-maintained air conditioners will eventually need to be replaced.
Air conditioners decrease in performance and energy efficiency as they age. If your air conditioner is ten years old or older, you may notice it’s no longer getting your home as cool as it should and may even be breaking down more frequently.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even if your air conditioner is only ten years old, you may save 20-40% of your cooling energy costs with a new, more energy-efficient model.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is known as SEER, and it’s used to indicate an air conditioner’s efficiency and performance. As of January 1, 2023, the minimum SEER rating required for new air conditioners sold in Arizona will rise to 15.
Your older air conditioner probably has a SEER rating far lower than 15, meaning it’s not as efficient as any new model you’ll purchase.
Chas Roberts can help you choose a new, more energy-efficient air conditioner to replace your older unit.
While we can do plenty of things to stay cool at home without lowering the thermostat, we still need to ensure our air conditioners are well-maintained and ready to handle the intense heat of our Arizona summers.
If we don’t, we may find ourselves without air conditioning on the summer’s hottest days.
Chas Roberts is the oldest and largest residential HVAC company in Arizona and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years. Contact us for affordable, reliable service.