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3 Things You Can Do to Help Your Air Conditioner Keep Things Cool

The annual summer heat wave is in full swing. That means a collective head shake every time a utility bill arrives. More than a few people ask, “Isn’t there anything I can do to help keep things cool without driving up my utility costs?” as it turns out, you can do some things.

Basic Home Repairs

It’s a truth of home ownership that older houses develop drafts. Blame it on the house settling over time. The minor shifts in the house open up small cracks and holes that let hot air in during the summer. You can solve a lot of your cooling problems with some basic home repairs.

Use caulk around your doors and windows, as well as for small cracks. For larger cracks and around pipes, break out a can of expanding foam. Replace the weather stripping on your doors and windows if you feel especially hands-on. Speaking of repairs, schedule air conditioning maintenance to ensure your AC unit is working properly.

Add Attic Insulation

Ever gone up into your attic in the summer? It’s really hot, right? Attic insulation is the only thing separating that hot, attic air from the cool air in your living spaces. The bad news is that most older, and some newer, homes don’t have enough insulation.

Laying down more insulation adds what they call R-value. In simple terms, R-value means how well something stops heat from moving. A higher R-value means the cool air downstairs stays cool better. According to EnergyStar, adding insulation can help cut your heating and cooling costs as much as 15%.

Reschedule Baking and Laundry Drying

The two major sources of extra heat in a home during the summer are baking and laundry drying. With luck, your thermostat is located at a distance from your oven and dryer. That distance means the heat diffuses a little and doesn’t push your AC unit as hard. Even so, it still makes your AC unit work harder.

As much as possible, do your baking and laundry drying in the late evening. Things cool off a bit after the sun goes down, which reduces the load on your AC unit. Plus, some electricity companies charge based on peak and off-peak hours. Late evening is usually off-peak, which means you pay less for cooling at that hour.

Helping your AC unit keep things cool doesn’t take an engineering degree. You can employ a few, simple DIY solutions to the problem. Sealing up cracks, adding insulation, and rescheduling baking and laundry drying will go a long way.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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