Large areas of the country are getting pummeled by the recent heat waves. In Pennsylvania, local residents have been sweating through daily high temperatures in the 90s to low 100s which is compounded with 50 to 70% humidity. In southeastern Pennsylvania, heat advisories have gone into effect as the temperature index reached 104°F. Across the country, 2022 is on track to set records as one of the hottest summers on record.

Large areas of the country are getting pummeled by recent heat waves. In Pennsylvania, local residents have been sweating through daily high temperatures in the 90s to low 100s
which is compounded with 50 to 70% humidity. Across the country, this summer is on track to be one of the hottest on record.

On the peak heat days during the year, electrical demand is also high. In both offices and homes, people rely heavily on fans, air conditioning, and dehumidifiers to keep cool. This surge in utility consumption rises directly with the temperature outside. But if the electrical grid becomes overwhelmed, it can spell disaster during a heatwave. Power outages are uncomfortable and can even be dangerous in the heat. That’s why it’s important for all of us to try to cut back on energy usage – at home and at the office — during the hottest summer days.

How to Cool Your House and Keep Expenses Low

When the heat and humidity of summer arrives, staying cool is a priority for home and business owners in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties. However, it only takes a string of extremely warm days to potentially break the budget. While that can be a challenge, the good news is that you can take several actions to lower your utility bills and still remain comfortable at home or work.

Don’t sweat the heat or the extra electrical costs this summer. Follow this advice from the HVAC experts.

Change Your Air Filter Quarterly

One of the simplest things you can do to reduce energy costs is changing the air filter of your HVAC system at least once every three months. At AQM, we recommend that you set reminders on your smartphone calendar to change the filter before the start of each new season. A clogged and dirty air filter is far less efficient at trapping warm air and pushing cool air out. Many hardware and home improvement stores sell air filters in packages of four to help you remember to change them seasonally.

Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

You look forward to coming home to a pleasantly cool house at the end of a long day at work. The only problem is that keeping the air conditioning on all day can really drive up energy costs. Replacing your current thermostat with a programmable thermostat makes an ideal solution to this dilemma.

With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to slowly get cooler throughout the day until it reaches a maximum point of comfort when you return home. These units also come with several optional features such as weekday and weekend settings and vacation settings. According to our research, you can also save up to 10% off your monthly utility bill when you switch to a programmable thermostat.

Keep Curtains and Blinds Closed During the Day

Keeping your curtains and blinds open all day long allows excess heat to enter your home. Your air conditioner then needs to work extra hard to provide the cooling capacity you desire. Pulling the curtains and blinds closed blocks the heat from entering your home and puts less strain on your air conditioning system. Even so, some window coverings are more efficient than others. If the curtains or blinds you currently have let in too much heat, consider researching and installing more energy-efficient ones.

Turn Off Ovens and Stoves as Soon as You’re Done Cooking

It’s easy to forget to turn off your oven or range while plating up and serving meals to your family. Make a deliberate point of shutting off these appliances as soon as you take out the last bit of food, rather than waiting until preparation is complete. This will eliminate some of the most powerful heat sources from inside your house, thereby keeping it cooler.

Grow Natural Cover

Having trees overhanging your house will block direct sunlight from getting to the roof, thereby keeping your home cooler. However, you’ll need to take some precautions so that the trees don’t end up harming your house. Choose varieties that are strong enough to stand up to storms, and trim branches so that they don’t come into direct contact with the roof. When trimming, remember that heavy rain or snow can cause them to droop lower than they do on the day of pruning. Counter this by leaving a few more feet of clearance than it looks like you need.

Use Fans Indoors

In normal indoor temperatures, running fans will cool you down by increasing the evaporation of sweat. You will therefore feel more comfortable even if the room air temperature is a bit hotter. Because of this, you’ll be able to run your air conditioner at a warmer temperature without discomfort.

Ceiling fans don’t usually blow enough air on you to cool you down, but they do help to mix up the air in your house. This gets colder air off of the floor and up where it’ll do you some good. It also prevents a pocket of heat from forming at the ceiling.

Aim for Reasonable Temperatures

Even though air conditioners are capable of making home interiors quite cold, it’s best to aim for more reasonable temperatures. Aim for an inside temperature of 72-75°F or even warmer. The colder you set the thermostat, the more energy you’ll use – and the more you’ll pay.

Keep Windows Closed While It’s Hot Outside

Many people like to open their windows in the summer, but this typically causes air conditioning systems to use far more power than they otherwise would. Keeping them closed while the sun is up will greatly reduce the demand for artificial cooling. It’s better to open windows late at night when outdoor temperatures are at their lowest.

Insulate Your Attic

Insulation is key to keeping a house at the proper temperature. It prevents your air conditioning from leaking out during the summer, and your heat from disappearing in the winter.

The roofing materials of your home absorb a lot of heat during hot summer days. When your attic has poor insulation, the sun’s rays come through the roof and into your home. This can make your home or office uncomfortable in a hurry as well as cause your air conditioner to work overtime to keep you cool. Homes built more than 20 years ago are more likely to have issues with inadequate attic insulation than newer homes.

It’s worth reaching out to an attic insulation specialist to find out whether your home could benefit from new or additional insulation. It’s worth reaching out to an attic insulation specialist to find out whether your home could benefit from new or additional insulation. You’ll likely find that your energy bills drop enough to make the upgrade pay for itself in short order.

Consider Upgrading to a More Efficient Air Conditioning System

The federal Energy Star program recommends upgrading air conditioning systems more than 10 years old that also have a low energy efficiency rating. Older systems which use Freon will need to be replaced or retrofitted anyway.

It’s true the purchasing a new, energy efficient air conditioning system will cost you more upfront. But rest assured that you will soon see a return on investment in the form of lower utility bills and less frequent repairs. Air conditioning manufacturers label each unit with a SEER number, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER numbers start at 13 or 14 depending on your geographic location and can go as high as 25. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency you can expect.

Seal Air Leaks

Openings under doors and cracks in windows are just two ways that cool air can escape and warm air can enter your home in the summer. Drafts happen when the outside air is able to come in from improper areas.

These problems are easy enough to fix with caulking and weather stripping. Seal up leaky window frames, put weatherstripping around doors, and fix gaps in baseboards and other areas. It’s also a good idea to check your ductwork to ensure that it doesn’t contain air leaks that could prevent the normal distribution of cool air.

Schedule Regular Preventive Maintenance

Annual maintenance for your cooling and heating equipment can make all the difference in its efficiency and longevity. We are happy to let you know that AQM offers preventive maintenance plans starting at just $197 per year. You can also upgrade to a platinum or ultimate plan for greater benefits and savings. Our plan members always receive priority service and additional savings over non-plan members. Feel free to contact us with additional questions about each of our plans or to request a quote for a tune-up, repairs, or installation.

Teach Children to Keep the Exterior Doors Closed as Soon as Possible

While kids below a certain age will constantly forget to close the door despite reminders, the message will eventually get through. Keep on reminding them so that they learn the habit as soon as they’re old enough to remember.

Remember to Close the Door After Yourself, Too

As an adult, be sure to remember this yourself. It can be surprisingly easy to forget about fully shutting the door when you’re coming inside with armfuls of grocery bags or other awkward items. Go back and close the door the moment you set your load down.

SAVE ENERGY AT YOUR OFFICE DURING THE SUMMER

Commercial buildings account for a large portion of energy consumption for cooling. Because they also tend to be occupied during the hotter hours of the day, electrical demand is especially high for offices and commercial spaces like shopping centers, stores, childcare centers, and gyms. There are some small changes that you and your coworkers can make to reduce utility usage during the summer, without making any big investments in new HVAQ equipment.

Lower the Temperature

Adjust the thermostat in the office to keep. Keeping the space just a few degrees warmer during the workday or allowing the temperature to rise when the business is closed can save a lot of money.

With record-setting temperatures and increasing energy prices besetting the nation, this is a good time to discuss ways to stay cool in more efficient ways. Following these tips will help you keep costs down and reduce strain on the building’s air conditioning system while maintaining a good comfort level.

Schedule According to Power Usage

Meetings and activities that require more energy use or which are more demanding on cooling systems should be planned for the morning hours whenever possible.

Take the Stairs

Small adjustments can make a big difference when applied to high-occupancy buildings. For example, workers can save energy by using the stairs rather than the elevator.

Turn Off Some Lights

Make sure the lights are off in areas of the building when they aren’t being used. This may include bathrooms, storage rooms, conference areas, and stairwells. Low-cost sensors can be used to automatically shut off the lights when nobody is using the space. Timers and solar sensors can turn signage off its not needed or too bright outside.

Power Down Electronics

Request that employees turn off their computers and any other electronics before leaving for the day and whenever they aren’t being used. Copy machines and other equipment can also be set to ‘sleep mode’ and conserve energy when not in use. Smart power strips make this easy; they power down automatically when the devices plugged in are unused.

Limit Direct Sunlight

Blinds, shades, and awnings are helpful in commercial settings by limiting the amount of heat that comes into the building through the windows and doors.

Maintain the HVAC System

Keeping the air conditioning system in good working order is one of the best ways to ensure low-energy performance.

Get Assistance Keeping Your Energy Costs Low

Our HVAC technicians will keep your system running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Call AQM at (610) 363-3940. You can also request a quote online.

AQM, Inc.