Keep Your AC Blowing with Simple Home Maintenance

Keeping your home cool means relying on the AC a lot. If that sounds like your home, you may want to see how your cool little friend is doing.

We don’t mean calling your best bud and seeing how they are (though they’ll probably appreciate the gesture). We mean your actual AC unit.

A well maintained air conditioner will provide cooler air and use less electricity, so your home is always comfortable.

How can you check on your AC’s condition? There are a number of ways.

Replacing filters every one to three months as needed can save you up to 15% on energy use for your AC. A clogged filter means reduced airflow, which makes the AC work harder. Clean the evaporator coil just like you would with a refrigerator. These coils release heat through condensate, and if they are caked with dirt and grime, the coil more »

Energy Efficiency and Bright Colors

Looking to stay cool as we come out of the hottest time of the year? If you also like to save money in addition to keeping cool, we have some hot tips for you.

The best way to stay cool is to minimize heat gain, which can come from many different sources, including the sun, light bulbs, cooking, and doing laundry.

Minimizing how much you use all these aspects will not only keep the temperature from rising, it will also keep your energy bill from climbing, which is great during the August heat.

Block out the Sun

Sunlight in and of itself is not inherently bad. In fact, it can help you reduce energy bills by relying on it rather than artificial lighting during the day.

However, during the dead of summer, light from the sun can really heat up your home. Well, more specifically, ultraviolet light

more »

Cut Your Lighting Budget in Half with High Powered Lights

Did you know that 5% of the average home’s energy budget goes toward lighting? Upgrading your lighting options can reduce this percentage and save you money without changing the lighting of your home.

Incandescent light bulbs were the standard of lighting from the time they were invented and available for mass use until 2012 when federal regulations ceased the production of them.

While some people were upset about removing this cheap lighting form, the truth of the matter is these bulbs were costing more than you might think.

A lighting fixture using incandescent bulbs at $0.80 per bulb would cost more than $143 over the course of 10 years at 6 hours of use per day with an average of $0.10 per kWh. Both CFL and LED bulbs would cost a little over $30 total in the same scenario.

Just upgrading the bulbs from incandescent to a

more »

Making the Most of Summer Without AC

In the centuries before the invention of air conditioning, homeowners had to work with what they had to keep their homes cool in the summer.

Some of the old techniques of yesteryear can be utilized today to keep temperatures down inside your home without having to run the energy guzzling air conditioner, even though some really hot days may still warrant its use.

Opening the Right Windows

Opening a window may seem like the only option to keep cool in the summer without using AC. Though there are other alternatives, opening a single window or all the windows at once won’t help as much as you might think.

Strategic window openings take advantage of natural air currents to cool your home.

For instance, if you have a two story home, open a window on the first floor on the shadiest side of your home and a window

more »

Filling Money Pits with Energy Efficiency

How many summers have you gone through where it seems like you’re paying more than you would expect to keep cool? If you feel like it’s been just about every summer, chances are there are some summer money pits in your home that desperately need filling.

Some parts of our homes are just sinkholes for money, be they old thermostats, drafty windows, outdated home air conditioning, or poor insulation.

Filling these money pits with newer technology and more efficient solutions will keep your home more comfortable and save you money every month.


An old, manually set thermostat will tell your HVAC system to maintain whatever the set temperature is. The only way to prevent it from doing this is to turn it off.

Now, if you go to work during the week and forget to turn off the thermostat, you’re actively cooling your home with no

more »

Affordable Ways to Cut Energy Use

Cutting your home electricity use is easier than you might think. There are a lot of ways to reduce energy waste that won’t cost anything but a little bit of time. Beyond that, there are some improvements that can save you a lot of electricity in the years to come.

Electronic Energy Waste

It may seem obvious that various electronics around the house contribute to energy waste. What might not be so obvious is that turning these devices off doesn’t actually solve the issue of waste.

It’s important to shut off devices when you aren’t using them to prevent energy waste, but in the case of electronics and some appliances, they are always draining electricity, even when they’re turned off.

DVD/Blu-ray players, game consoles, televisions, microwaves, cell phone chargers, PCs, and many other items continually draw electricity as long as they are plugged in.

Among the worst

more »

How the South Beat the Heat

Long before air conditioning was mainstream, people had to learn and adapt to the temperatures and keep cool in other ways.

Through several different innovations, people in the southern United States constructed their homes to take advantage of as many cooling effects as possible.

Fan Rotation Direction

Sitting under a fan can help keep you cool using the wind chill effect, but when the air is already hot, it seems to have little effect.

Instead of blowing air downward, Southern residents switched the direction on installed fans and had them draw the hot air upward toward vaulted ceilings and windows, releasing it from the home.

Windows and Shades

Speaking of windows, Texas residents would often open their windows at night to take advantage of the cooler night air.

During the day, they would shut them along with any blinds or curtains to repel sunlight and keep their

more »

Managing Heat and Air Conditioning

Are you helping or hindering your air conditioner’s efforts to cool your home?

Running the AC all day long or at very low temperature settings will run your bills up very quickly, and they could lead to breaking the air conditioner, which can be a costly repair.

The best way to help your AC out is to reduce the amount of heat buildup in the home and carefully manage the time the AC runs.

Energy and Heat Management

The best way to counteract high heat accumulation is to limit the contributing factors of it.

Solar heat accumulation is one of the biggest contributors to a hot home, but there are several ways to reduce its impact.

Planting shrubs and trees provide shade and act as a layer of insulation to keep conditioned air in the home and heat out of the home. The shade from trees reduces more »

The Right Way to Use Your AC

With the Texas heat bearing down on the state, energy bills continue to rise thanks to the endless need for air conditioning.

It’s never enjoyable to be inside of a stuffy house, as anyone whose AC quit working could probably tell you. The heat makes us feel sluggish and sticky.

After a long day at work, the last thing on someone’s mind is to bask in the heat of a house, so it begs the question: should you leave your AC on during the day while at work or school?

Running the AC vs. Turning it Off

These two schools of thought both purport save energy when it comes to air conditioning.

In the case of leaving it running all day, the idea is that since the house remains cool during this time, the AC doesn’t have to make up for hot air later in the day

more »

Air and Water: The Biggest Contributors to High Energy Bills

Air conditioning and hot water usage make up about 75 to 80% of energy bills in average homes here in the Southern U.S.

If you feel like your energy bills are too high, those are the first categories to address. Unfortunately, both seem like areas we can’t compromise on.

But we have good news: saving energy isn’t necessarily a compromise to comfort.

Cutting Back on Energy Use

The first thing you can do is lower the temperature setting on your water heater from 140°F to 120°F. This seemingly small drop will save a lot of energy while still providing you with hot water.

Next, cut back on the length of showers. The longer your shower, the more hot water you’re consuming. Try taking colder showers as well. They can feel refreshing in the heat of the day and they won’t dry out your skin as much.


more »