If the heat of summer in New Jersey is driving your air conditioning costs up, you might be looking for ways in which you can lower your cooling load and lighten your energy bills. The idea is to keep the heat outside in the summer and inside in the winter, right? Well, the sun is the biggest heat source there is, and everyone likes a nice sunny day, but letting the sun’s heat stream through your windows can add to your home’s cooling load. No doubt, your energy bills would appreciate some shade.
Here are a few tips to help you lighten your cooling load, and conserve your cooling costs:
- On hot, sunny days, close curtains and drapes on windows that face the sun.
- Install relatively inexpensive fabric sunscreens on the outside of windows to block the sun while retaining your views and your home’s aesthetics.
- Use interior window treatments with reflective, metallic, or bright white surfaces to block as much as 80 percent of solar heat. In comparison, white blinds stop approximately 40 to 60 percent of solar heat.
- Consider installing energy-efficient windows to effectively block the sun’s rays. Energy Star-qualified windows can reduce your energy costs by as much as 10 percent.
- Plant trees on the southeast and west sides of your home to provide shade for your windows. Deciduous trees are best because in the summer they will shield you from solar heat, while in the winter they will do the opposite as they shed their leaves and allow the sun’s heat to enter your home.
Hot air can also build up in the attic. Consider installing an attic ventilation system to push out unwanted heat. Furthermore, watch for air leaks. Check windows and doors and seal any leaks you find with caulk or weatherstripping. Inspect ductwork for leaks as well, checking closely the connections at floors, walls, and ceilings. Seal leaks with mastic-type sealant and metal tape. A certified HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractor can seal leaks professionally as well as insulate ductwork that passes through unconditioned areas.
You also should consider signing up for annual HVAC preventive maintenance to ensure that your system is energy efficient. Professional maintenance can end up paying for itself in lower energy bills and fewer repairs.
For more expert advice on dealing with your cooling load and other home-comfort issues, feel free to contact us at Pipe Works Services. We’ve been serving Morris, Union, Somerset, and Essex counties since 2000, and can help you with all of your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs.