Summer officially begins June 21, and temperatures are rising. This can create significant spikes in your monthly bills, as cooling your home can add up to as much as 50 percent of your energy use during the summer months.
However, energy costs can often be controlled with well maintained, high-efficiency equipment to reduce the amount of energy you use to stay comfortable when the weather is hot.
As your air conditioning systems starts working overtime, United Illuminating, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), is offering seven tips to help prevent your energy costs from rising with the temperature this summer.
1. Seal It Up: Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system by as much as 20 percent. By keeping the cool air in and the warm air out, you can increase comfort during the summer months. Furthermore, consider hanging insulated drapes or shades to help prevent unwanted heat from entering your home.
2. Don’t Forget the Air Filter: You should check your air filter every two months, especially during heavy-use times (summer and winter). Replace the filter if it looks dirty or worn to ensure a clean system with proper air flow.
3. Get a Yearly Tune-Up: An annual tune-up of your HVAC system is an essential step in ensuring its efficiency and comfort.
4. Take Control of the Temperature: Most homeowners are away from their home for consistent periods of time throughout the week. With a programmable thermostat, you can save energy by setting the temperature to fit your routine, so it’s colder when you’re home and warmer when you’re not. Many thermostats also have smartphone capabilities which allow remote access to monitor and change the temperature anytime.
5. Insulate Your Attic: Make sure the attic is properly insulated, air sealed, and ventilated. This will reduce energy consumption of the air conditioning unit.
6. Ensure Equipment is Properly Installed: Improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent, costing homeowners more on their utility bills and potentially shortening the equipment's life span. If possible, make sure air conditioning systems are located on the north, or “shady,” side of the house. Direct sunlight can increase workload, ultimately raising costs. Creating natural shade for equipment will allow it to work more efficiently and with less stress on the system.
7. Time for a Checkup: If your equipment is more than 10 years old, or if you notice it struggling to keep your home comfortable, even after following the previous suggestions, have a qualified Energize Connecticut HVAC Contractor perform a system checkup. If your air conditioning unit requires an upgrade, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® rated unit – you may even qualify for rebates and financing options through the Energize Connecticut initiative to help offset these costs. Those interested in upgrading their existing air conditioning system to a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR models can receive a $250 rebate. Residents with multiple zones or multiple systems in their homes are now eligible to submit for each individual system.
Consider getting a Home Energy SolutionsSM energy assessment, which will make your home more airtight, so it retains cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. When registering for the Home Energy Solutions program, available rebates will be fully explained by the vendor at the end of the homes’ assessment. For information on any of the energy-saving programs offered through the Energize Connecticut initiative, please call 877-WISE-USE or visit EnergizeCT.com.
About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 877.WISE.USE.