The extreme Florida heat and humidity can make keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer incredibly costly. This means many people are forced to choose between comfort and running their AC less to save money. However, this isn’t necessarily a choice you’ll have to make since all of these tips can help you lower your energy bills while still ensuring your home stays cool.

1. Get Your HVAC System Serviced

Whether you cool your home with a traditional central AC or a heat pump, you should always have your HVAC system serviced every spring. Maintenance is critical for preventing the energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps from decreasing. Issues like dirty evaporator and condenser coils can make it much more difficult for an HVAC system to effectively remove heat from your home and release it outside. A dirty blower can also greatly reduce how much air your HVAC system can circulate, leading to it cooling much more slowly and consuming more energy.

Professional AC maintenance involves cleaning all of these components and testing the system to ensure everything works correctly. Our HVAC technicians will inspect your entire system to make sure no components are worn out and there’s nothing that they need to repair or replace. This way, you can be fully certain that your AC can keep your home cool on even the hottest days without using more energy than it needs to.

2. Schedule a Home Energy Audit

Most homes have a variety of issues that make them less energy efficient than they could be, and this is especially the case for older homes. A professional home energy audit is a great way to lower your electricity bills since it will typically identify numerous ways that you can make your home more efficient.

One important part of the process is checking to see if there are any leaks in your ductwork. Duct leaks can be one of the biggest contributors to energy waste and can sometimes increase the energy consumption of an HVAC system by 20-30%.

It’s also important to check that the weatherstripping on all windows and exterior doors is still in good shape and that there are no leaks around any windows or door frames. During the energy audit, our technicians will go to each room and test for any leaks. Any leaks will make your home less efficient and force your AC to work harder. Leaks allow lots of heat and humidity to come inside.

Another part of the process is to evaluate your past electricity bills. This can help identify any potential issues that may have led to your HVAC system using more and more energy over time. Once the process is complete, our technicians will then provide you with a full report listing all of their recommendations on the ways you can make your home more efficient and reduce your energy costs.

3. Remember to Replace Your HVAC Air Filter

A dirty air filter greatly restricts the airflow in an HVAC system and prevents it from cooling nearly as effectively as it should. It also increases the amount of wear and tear on the system and can lead to it freezing up or experiencing a variety of other issues. During the summer, when your AC is always working hard, it’s a good idea to inspect the air filter at least once a month.

Although HVAC manufacturers generally recommend replacing the air filter at least quarterly, you may need to replace it every month or two when your AC runs much more. This is especially true if you use a higher-quality, more efficient filter or if you have pets in your home.

Gently wiping all of the dust, hair, and debris off the face of the filter can sometimes extend its lifespan and make it less restrictive. However, the inside of the filter will still clog up over time, so you should always replace it whenever it starts looking discolored or dark.

4. Program Your Thermostat

It’s always a good idea to turn the temperature on your thermostat up a bit any time your house will be unoccupied for more than a few hours, such as when you’re at work. Turning the thermostat up too high isn’t a good idea. While your HVAC system will use less energy during those hours, it will often end up using more energy overall since it will have to work a lot harder once you turn the thermostat back down. However, turning it up by 5 degrees or so when you’re at work will usually save you some money.

Remember, you don’t want to come home to a house that’s too hot. This is why you should make sure to program your thermostat so the temperature automatically turns up and down at set times. While you can do this with any programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat will make it much easier. It will also allow you to control your HVAC system and monitor the temperature in your home from your phone. Installing a smart thermostat is a great investment that should allow you to keep your cooling costs lower.

5. Cover Windows to Reduce Daytime Heat Gain

Sunlight streaming in through your windows during the day results in lots of heat gain that will quickly raise the temperature in your home and increase the workload for your AC system. The easiest way to prevent this and keep your home a bit cooler is to make sure all windows are covered during the day. Another option is to cover your windows with UV-blocking film. The film is transparent so you’ll still be able to see out your windows, but it will usually block around 99% of UV rays to greatly reduce heat gain.

6. Make Sure the Attic Is Sufficiently Ventilated and Insulated

An attic that isn’t sufficiently insulated and ventilated can be one of the biggest contributors to high energy bills. Having sufficient ventilation in your attic is essential for drawing out all of the heat that naturally builds inside it during the day. The temperature in a poorly ventilated attic can often get to 140 degrees or higher during the day. If the attic floor isn’t sufficiently insulated, all of this heat will also penetrate down into your living areas and make your home much hotter in the afternoon and early evening.

7. Keep Windows Closed at Night

Sleeping with the windows open can be nice, but it isn’t recommended during the hot and humid Florida summers. Open windows will allow huge amounts of moisture inside and increase the humidity level indoors. This will then lead to your HVAC system using a lot more energy since air conditioning isn’t nearly as effective when the indoor humidity level is higher. High indoor humidity can lead to mold issues as well. These reasons are why it’s best to leave the AC on and all windows closed at night, other than when the outdoor humidity level is much lower.

At J&W Heating and Air + Plumbing, we’ve been helping Jacksonville area residents with their home comfort needs since 1966. If you’re looking to save money this summer, our team can service or repair your AC system or help you upgrade to a more efficient system. We can also perform a home energy audit to help you find even more ways to save. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of a home energy audit or to schedule any cooling, heating, or plumbing service.

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