When the scorching summer weather arrives in the Richmond, VA area, it’s easy to quickly burn through energy without realizing it. Between cranking up the air conditioning, having box fans blowing, and running cold water, many households see their electricity bills rise dramatically between June and August. So, what can you do to keep those energy costs from getting out of hand? Fortunately, if you make a few shrewd decisions and create some smart habits, there’s no reason you need to spend a fortune on your electricity this summer.

1. Install a Smart Thermostat

It’s inevitable that you’ll need to use your air conditioning this summer, but it shouldn’t need to be running 24/7. If you regularly forget to turn the AC off when you head to work or run errands, those hours will add up to a lot of wasted electricity. Even forgetting to turn the thermostat off once your home reaches a comfortable temperature can use up extra energy. Those situations are the reasons that having a smart thermostat in your household can be so beneficial.

With a smart thermostat, you’ll have the peace of mind that your cooling system is only running when you genuinely need it to be. You can set your preferred household temperature, and your HVAC unit will only work as much as necessary to maintain that climate. Plus, your smart thermostat will quickly get used to your routines. It will know when you leave for work every day and when you sleep, and it will automatically adjust the temperature during those times. Over a full summer, having one of these innovative thermostats can greatly reduce the electricity consumption of your home. They’re easy to install, affordable, and come packed with convenient features.

2. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter

If you want your AC unit to operate as efficiently as possible this summer, you’d be wise to replace your HVAC air filter before the heat arrives. Whenever your air conditioner is circulating air, it’s pulling air through its filter. That filter gradually gets packed full of airborne contaminant particles, such as dust, pollen, and dander. Over time, as the filter gets dirtier and dirtier, it requires more and more exertion for your AC unit to do its job. Not only is that detrimental to the system’s health, but it also wastes a lot of electricity. The last thing you want is for your cooling system to be working with a dirty air filter this summer. Replace it with a new one as soon as possible, and try to make a habit of monitoring it all year long.

3. Purchase LED Light Bulbs

If your household uses incandescent lightbulbs, you could likely save quite a bit of energy by switching to LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are notoriously inefficient, as the majority of the electricity they use becomes wasted heat. LED bulbs are a bit more expensive, but they’re preferable in just about every way. In addition to being around 75% more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, they last significantly longer on average and don’t get nearly as hot. When you replace your incandescent lights with LEDs, the savings on your electricity bills should compensate for the increased price rather quickly.

4. Schedule Professional AC Maintenance

A professional maintenance visit will provide all sorts of benefits to your cooling system, and one of the most significant will be improved efficiency. It’s entirely normal for cooling appliances to gradually lose their effectiveness and efficiency over time, but a professional tune-up can slow or even reverse that process. In the Richmond area, our cooling technicians at Davis & Green can perform a tune-up for you in a timely and professional manner. Our expert team member will thoroughly clean out your air conditioner and make any needed adjustments. That will allow the system to circulate cool air around your home more smoothly and without wasting electricity.

Our technician will also inspect the AC unit for any malfunctioning, damaged, or worn-out components. They might even be able to save you the trouble of dealing with a breakdown during the hot summer weather. You should have your HVAC units tuned up every year, and doing so during spring will help ensure that your summers are always efficient.

5. Close Your Blinds and Curtains

During summer, the amount of natural warmth that fills your home can become too much for comfort. If you have any windows facing southward or westward, your living space probably gets hit with quite a bit of direct heat from the sunlight. As a result, your AC unit has to work more and use more energy to keep your household comfortable.

To remedy these conditions, consider closing your blinds or curtains on hot days. Not only will doing so prevent excessive natural heat from entering the home, but it will also keep cool, conditioned air from escaping through your windows. Of course, having some natural light in the home can be nice, so you may not want to close all of your blinds. The best compromise is to keep the curtains open on all of your windows and glass doors that face toward the north. That way, you’ll receive the pleasant light but not the unpleasant heat.

6. Use Fans to Cool Down

Did you know that ceiling and box fans use significantly less electricity than air conditioners? Whenever it’s practical to do so, consider using fans to cool yourself down this summer. Granted, fans aren’t typically as effective at cooling you down as an AC unit, and your comfort is important. So, during the hottest days, there’s no shame in cranking up the AC.

However, in the evenings and during the milder days, consider parking yourself in front of or below a fan and giving your air conditioner a break. In addition to conserving electricity, it will allow your AC equipment to rest, which will help it run smoother and even lengthen its life expectancy.

7. Spend Time Outside

Generally speaking, your household burns through far less energy when you’re not at home. This summer, try to get outside and enjoy some of Richmond’s many beautiful parks and hiking trails. When you leave the house, you can turn off the AC unit, dim the lights, and shut down most of your electronic equipment. Plus, you’re not using water or cooking, either. Ultimately, the more time you spend away from home, the more electricity you’ll save this summer.

For top-notch heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and construction services in the Richmond area, look no further than our expert team at Davis & Green. We’ve been proudly serving the area since 1984, and our mission is to improve lives one home at a time.

Over the last few decades, we’ve developed a reputation for our honesty, excellent customer service, and top-rated home comfort services. As a Christian-owned company, we strive to treat all of our customers the way we would want to be treated. If we can, we will always try to uplift and improve the lives of everyone that we reach. When you need dependable service with a smile, give our offices a call at Davis & Green.

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