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9 Paths To A Greener Summer

summer money savings pennsylvaniaYour HVAC equipment accounts for nearly half the energy your home uses during peak months, including most of the summer. The good news, if you’re keen to use energy wisely, is that there are many ways to lower that number – reducing your bills and your carbon footprint at the same time.

Here are nine of the most cost-effective ways to get greener in your eastern Pennsylvania home this summer:

  1. Stay on top of air filter changes – Check your filters about once a month, cleaning or replacing them (depending on the model) as needed. A clogged air filter can reduce A/C efficiency by 10 percent or more, and will cause unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment.
  2. Mind your ductwork – Alternating cold and warm air will eventually strain seals on your ductwork – especially if it wasn’t installed correctly in the first place. Look for obvious air leaks in visible ducts, but remember: most of your ductwork is behind the walls, so consider a professional duct inspection about once every five years to find and fix bigger problem spots.
  3. Use your programmable thermostat – With a central air conditioner, every degree you drop your thermostat below 75 degrees could cause you to use three to five percent more energy. The good news is that the reverse is also true. For the best balance of comfort and economy, shoot for a summertime indoor temperature of about 78 degrees.
  4. Add window treatments – Did you know that about 75 percent of the sunlight that enters your home ends up as heat? In the hot summer months, consider hanging window treatments that reflect rather than absorb light and heat. For more efficiency tips using window treatments, see the U.S. Department of Energy website).
  5. Shade your condensing unit – Keeping your outdoor condensing unit out of the sun can reduce A/C costs by about two percent. Just remember: NEVER COVER YOUR CONDENSER UNIT! Shield it with a canopy from well above the exhaust space.
  6. Clear room vents – Make sure that vents in rooms you’re using are open and not blocked by furniture, rugs or drapes.
  7. Keep air moving, especially in the attic – Install an attic ventilator fan to draw cool air throughout the house. Use your ceiling fans, too – even with the A/C on. Moving air feels cooler when you’re in the room, so you can add a few degrees on the thermostat with no loss in comfort.
  8. Maintain your equipment – Your cooling equipment will lose about five percent efficiency every year that it’s not serviced, so don’t skip your tune-up! Your A/C will run more reliably, and you’ll keep your warranty in place, too.
  9. When it’s time to upgrade, always choose an experienced pro – Big box stores and weekend professionals may seem like they’re giving you a good deal, but a qualified home cooling technician will do the little things that will help your system deliver value – and better performance – year after year. They’ll also know the ins and outs on tax credits, incentives, and manufacturer’s rebates, so they’ll be able to steer you in the direction of better deals on ENERGY STAR®-certified equipment. Look for HVAC pros that offer in-person evaluations – not just formulas – if you want to get the most energy bang for your buck.

Summer’s coming – is your A/C ready? Let the pros at Oehlert Bros. help you to be sure. Contact us today to learn more about A/C installations, air conditioner maintenance and air conditioner repairs in Eastern PA!