Can you imagine living without air conditioning in the summer? For some, that’s the reality, whether they need to cut costs or have experienced a summer HVAC breakdown.
In fact, some people choose not to have air conditioning at all. Why?
Because their electricity bills are not more than $70 a month in peak summer, as opposed to the average electricity bill of $106 per month in Denver. And they haven’t initially shelled out $5200 to install the darn thing, or indeed to replace it.
While we aren’t advocating you do away with your beloved air conditioning, we are saying that it’s an incredibly expensive piece of household equipment — and it’s also one that can break. As such, we can learn a lot from people who choose to go without it, particularly regarding measures on how to reduce the use of your AC, and therefore lessening the chance of it breaking down.
Below is a list of five pointers to prevent an HVAC breakdown via maintenance, including tips for using it less and instead implementing natural ways to cool down your home.
Given that heating and cooling costs can make up at least half of your household energy bill, it is undeniably logical to develop a regular maintenance program for your HVAC equipment. With proper maintenance, you’ll have fewer — if any — breakdowns when you need your AC the most.
HVAC maintenance is made up of two components: simple tasks you can do yourself and technical check-ups and tune-ups an HVAC professional should tackle. Here are some tips for each:
Schedule an efficiency test with your HVAC professional to gauge how it’s performing regarding the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). If you’re getting a high number, you have a super efficient HVAC. A SEER of 13 or more is the bare minimum, and you can look to compare it instead with Energy Star products.
It’s not just a fun word — it also reduces your dependence on your AC by preventing air loss when you need to retain cold air in the summer.
Seal air leaks through caulking and weather-stripping, adding extra insulation around AC ducts and taking other steps toward creating that all-important tight envelope. This will not only help you keep cool in the summer, but it will also help your home retain warm air during the colder months.
Similar to the pitch of a tent but in reflective foil, radiant barriers are effectively insulation blocking heat from entering your house through the roof, and vice-versa. That’s right — your home will essentially be wearing a hat similar to those that prevent mind-reading entities, but it could lower your cooling expenses by up to 12 percent.
Proper ventilation in your attic will also bring down the cost of your AC. Check to see you have soffit vents — usually on the side of your roof — that allow air to move around the space. Otherwise, look for roof ridges that create room toward your attic ceiling to let air flow throughout the room.
According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, it is possible to reduce your AC use to minimize your chance of a breakdown. They even have more tips on how to cool your home naturally to lessen the impact on your AC equipment.