While September 22nd marks the official end of Summer 2020, that doesn’t mean that the high temperatures and even higher humidity levels will suddenly drop off and vanish. September, surprisingly enough, is actually the most humid month of the year in New England. Instead of putting your window unit away or giving your central air system a break, you may actually end up overusing your system if you’re not careful and mindful of the weather patterns and your home’s energy waste.
Every year, it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security that the September weather will cool down as the Summer winds to a close and Fall approaches, but the home stretch for your cooling unit is packed with humid mornings and oppressively muggy afternoons. The AccuWeather report for September 2020 shows that 60% of the days this month either have been or are projected to be hotter than the historical average. There are a number of steps that you can take to offset the stress that your system has been undergoing and make sure that it is running as efficiently as possible to finish out the heat wave. From small adjustments to scheduling regular maintenance, you can save yourself money and frustration down the road.
Clean & Clear Your System
In this final sprint of the season, your cooling unit needs all the help that it can get. After a warm Spring and scorching Summer spent entirely indoors, its likely that your A/C has been pumping away since May (which started with a full weekend in the mid to high 70’s compared to a 62 degree historical average) or June at the latest (which featured nearly 2/3 of its days with greater high temperatures than the historical average). During this time, the unit or vents have gathered dirt, dust, particulates, and other contaminants that will make it harder for your system to perform at optimal levels in high humidity. With less time spent outside your home, it’s also possible that external vents or central air cooling unit have been neglected or become blocked by debris or overgrown shrubbery. You can coordinate a full walk through, cleaning and clearing cycle during a cooler day to make sure that your air conditioning is ready to finish the month strong and reduce risk of asthma or allergy irritation in the process.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
While the main function of an air conditioning system is to cool the air, a great deal of the relief that homeowners get from the heat comes from the air circulation and constant breeze through the vents. The best way to give your air conditioner a break from the constant air pumping is by utilizing your ceiling fans so that you can set your thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Setting your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise when you’re in that room pushes air downward towards you to create a pleasant breeze while circulating air throughout your home to reduce that stuffy feeling during a heat wave. The circulation also cuts through the thick humidity that can settle in the air when you don’t have your fan or A/C running, which would only make you want to crank the thermostat lower if left unchecked. Next time you need a refreshing burst of cool air, try turning on your ceiling fan and marvel at how much of a difference it can make with your comfort level and energy bill.
Tightly Close Windows & Doors
When it comes to HVAC and A/C maintenance advice, this simple tip comes up all the time for good reason. An open door or leaky window deals three types of damage: leaking cold air produced by your A/C, letting in warm humid air from the outside, and causing wasteful surges in your power bill as your unit fights a losing battle. If there are windows in your home that are rarely opened, using the lock tends to add an extra level of pressure, insulation, and security to your windows. You can use removable draft stoppers under your doors to keep your rooms cool and further prevent wasted energy. Checking the insulation of your doors and windows is an extra step of care that can save you money long term. All of these considerations can add up to a cooler home and lower energy costs with minimal effort.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
September is always a good time to have a team of HVAC professionals check on your air conditioning or central air system. Not only do you need to make sure that your system is in top shape for the end of Summer, but its also a great time to prepare for Fall as well. When the weather gets too cool for your A/C unit, it can be easy or tempting to forget about maintenance until next year, which can compound any issues or malfunctions that your unit may have been encountering during the relentless Summer. Take the time this September to schedule a check up and servicing appointment for your cooling system from your local HVAC specialists.
By simply remaining vigilant of your energy waste, scheduling a cleaning and maintenance day, and utilizing your ceiling fans with the counterclockwise method, you can make a massive impact. Enjoy the end of the Summer in comfort without the rude awakening of a high energy bill at the end of the month by using these tips.
Sources Cited: AccuWeather, CNET and Angie’s List
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