People who live in Ocala know that it’s not only the summer months when the heat outside climbs over 90⁰F. Fall and spring often seem like extensions of summer. How, can you stay cool and not send your power bill soaring? Here are some proven suggestions that will keep you cool and the power bill down.
Check for Sufficient Insulation
If you live in a house that was built prior to the 1980s you probably don’t have enough insulation in your attic. This can also be true of homes where contractors may have skimped on cost by using less insulation. This is one of the biggest causes of air conditioning units not performing to their maximum efficiency. If your attic has 6 inches of fiberglass insulation or less, adding 18 inches of cellulose insulation over the existing insulation will bring a dramatic change in how cool your home is and that translates to lower annual electric costs. Make sure to check for areas where air escapes from the attic into your home before adding insulation and seal them off with insulated tape.
Add an Attic Vent
You will find in Florida most of the battle to reduce heat takes place in the attic. Adding attic vents allows radiant heat to escape. Most homes built in the last 20 years have roof vents, but older homes may not. As soon as the sun comes up radiant heat starts building in your attic and stays there past sundown. By venting your attic and allowing heat to escape, you could see even greater savings on your power bill. If you have roof vents, make sure that they are not obstructed. Insulation, wasp nests, and dirt can all block attic vents.
Add Radiant Foil Barriers
Adding a radiant foil barrier to the walls and ceiling of your attic shields the interior from heat by reflecting outward. This is the best way to keep the attic from getting hot in the first place, when used in conjunction with insulation this can greatly reduce the amount of time your air conditioner has to run to cool the air in your home.
Give Your Air Conditioner a Tune-Up.
When your air conditioner is dirty or does not have enough refrigerant it can struggle to cool things down. By having an air conditioner technician clean and tune-up your air conditioner you can improve its efficiency by up to 5%. A tune-up also keeps the air conditioner from breaking down in the summer months when it is called upon to carry more of a load. Having your unit maintained twice a year is generally recommended.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the heat in your home is to plant trees. If you have a home with east/west exposure your home is going to have the sun’s rays coming through the windows all day. Planting shade trees in the front and back of the house will act as the initial line of defense from summer heat. Sawtooth Oaks grow quickly to a mature height of 60 feet and are among some of the most picturesque trees.
Another simple way to reduce air conditioning costs is to caulk around windows, this keeps cracks and pinholes from allowing cold air to seep outside. Like the other suggestions in this list, the end result of caulking will be a reduction in how hard your air conditioner has to work. If your air conditionier isn’t working as hard, it will last longer.
A final thought on how to get the most out of your air conditioner, many things inside your home may be unintentional sources of heat. The little things can add up. Old standard style lightbulbs produce far more heat than LED lightbulbs. Old television sets with cathode-ray tubes can produce significant heat, new television sets are affordable and cooler. Any type of machinery, older appliances, and old computers, can pump hot air into your home and make summer much harder to take. Think replacing items that can produce heat in your home. By following some or all of the suggestions on this list your home will be cooler in no time and your air conditioner won’t need to run 24 hours a day.