By far, and it’s not even close, your HVAC system uses most of the energy in your home throughout the year (compared to all other appliances).
So if you’re going to spend time saving energy somewhere, it makes a whole heck of a lot of sense to start there.
Fortunately, you don’t need to drop a few thousand dollars on a new AC unit to make it happen (although this might make sense if your AC is 10+ years old).
Instead, you want to aim for making the best use of what you currently have.
So here’s what you can do:
1. Plant Tall Shade Trees Around Your Home
No joke here. Most heat that comes into your home comes from the sun shining on either your roof, siding, or through your windows.
Buy tall trees and surround your home on the east, south, and west sides (where the sun will rotate around during the day).
You’ll want deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall. That way, the sun can shine through and help warm up your home during the cooler months.
It’s also smart to plant evergreens on the north side of your home. That’s because they keep their needles during the winter and block the cool winds that come from the north, allowing your home to stay a little warmer.
You’ll have to do your research and talk with someone to decide what kind of deciduous trees to plant. Consider factors such as the volume of leaves they drop, how fast they grow, if they’re known for dropping branches, and if their root systems may damage your foundation.
2. Next Best Defense Against Heat: Solar Screens
Window shades don’t cut it. The sun’s warmth gets through your window pane and into your home, allowing some heat to radiate throughout.
Stop the sun before it ever enters your home by installing solar screens (or solar mesh) on the exterior of your windows.
Made of fabric, these screens block 90% of the sun’s light before it even touches your windows.
Another option is window film. Made of metal, window film reflects the sun’s rays outward.
3. Maintain Your Air Conditioner
This one you can actually do yourself, if you want. Maintaining your AC doesn’t require superior handyman skills.
There’s only about a million DIY AC maintenance guides available online.
Here’s a good one from HGTV with images to make it easier to follow.
Of course, you can always call a professional if you want. But understand that AC maintenance is relatively simple work.
Yes. You can cut your AC costs by a lot. And if you follow these simple strategies, you’ll watch them tank and have a little more cash on hand.