The desert climate of Las Vegas means summer temperatures can easily skyrocket over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, compelling a need for energy efficiency. There’s no getting through a Las Vegas summer without air conditioning, but luckily there are a few things you can do to help. Although running an air conditioner throughout summer equates to high electric bills, there are some smart ways to stay cool, reduce energy bills, and ease the burden on your home’s air conditioner. Here are 10 of the best HVAC hacks for summer in Las Vegas, including tips on insulation, heating, and ventilation.
1. Perform Easy DIY Maintenance
To keep your air conditioner functioning at its best condition, there are some minor DIY maintenance tasks you can do yourself at the start of every season. These include ensuring the energy efficiency of your doors and checking the ventilation and insulation of your house. These seemingly minor things can save you a considerable amount of money.
- Checking the air filter. Your AC’s air filter traps dust and dirt and plays an important role in maintaining good indoor air quality. Air filters can become blocked when it accumulates too much dirt. This will restrict airflow causing less cold air to circulate through your home.
- Cleaning air vents. Dirty air vents will also reduce the flow of cool refreshing air.
- Clearing the outdoor condenser unit of any leaves, dirt, and debris. This allows it to “breathe” and function more efficiently.
- Doing a quick visual inspection of the indoor and outdoor units and keeping an ear tuned for any unusual noises.
2. Use Fans to Maximize Airflow
Portable and ceiling fans do a great job of circulating air, contributing to ventilation and energy efficiency. Fans also help keep your body temperature lower when the air it produces makes contact with your skin. Used in conjunction with the air conditioning, you can maximize the flow of cool air around a room. With improved airflow, your air conditioner won’t have to run as long to cool the room, contributing to potential savings on energy bills. If you’re installing a new ceiling fan, choose the one with the ENERGY STAR label — they are 20 percent more efficient at circulating air.
3. Don’t Place Lamps Near The Thermostat
If you’re wondering why a room isn’t being sufficiently cooled by the AC, check the condition of the surroundings near the thermostat. Items such as lamps generate heat and should not be placed near the HVAC thermostat as they can interfere with the energy efficiency. Direct sunlight can also affect a thermostat’s ability to give an accurate reading. This means the air conditioner will struggle to cool the room efficiently and will work much harder to reach the correct cooling level, increasing heating and energy use. Move lamps to a different area and if the thermostat is located near sunlight, contact your HVAC contractor to have the thermostat moved.
4. Keep The Curtains Drawn
Natural heat from the sun pushes up the overall temperature in a house, affecting insulation. This is great in winter to help warm a house but it’s something you want to avoid during summer. Walking into a hot house is very unpleasant. To avoid this, keep the curtains and blinds drawn to prevent sunlight from streaming in. In Las Vegas, treating your windows with heat-reflecting film is another great way to hack the heat. Keeping the house cooler means you can set the AC temperature at a slightly higher degree and shave off a few dollars on utility bills.
5. Use Appliances Less And Switch Off Lights
In addition to the sun, appliances and light bulbs also contribute to an increase in the overall temperature in your home. The stove is one of the biggest contributors to extra heat in the home. In the summer months, use the microwave more often or grill outdoors instead. If you do use the stove, try to cook early in the morning before the day’s heat kicks in. This tactic not only helps in ensuring your home’s heating is manageable but also saves you money on utility bills.
Other appliances to avoid are dryers, irons, and dishwashers. Make use of the Las Vegas sun and hang your laundry outside to dry and do the ironing on cooler days or at night. Give the dishwasher a break and wash dishes by hand and let them air dry. Using appliances less and turning off lights in unoccupied rooms has the added benefit of lowering your electric bill, making this another one of many handy energy efficiency tips.
6. Don’t Try to Quick Cool Your Home
When you get home at the end of a long hot day, do you flip on the AC and then drastically decrease the temperature on the thermostat in an attempt to quickly cool your home? Make sure you’re accounting for insulation and ventilation before doing so to avoid unnecessarily high energy bills.This attic-based wisdom applies to air conditioning units too.
Often, in an attempt to escape the stifling summer heat, there’s a lot of strain placed on these cooling systems. It’s actually counterproductive. For one, the AC will still take a certain amount of time to reach the desired temperature. And second, you are forcing the AC to work harder unnecessarily, affecting its performance and increasing your energy usage. Overworking the unit might also lead to subsequent repairs. The cost of running an AC increases up to 8 percent for every degree the thermostat is lowered.
Part of successfully managing the cooling system in the harsh environment of a summer heatwave is to keep the temperature between outside and inside as close to each other as possible. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.
At this temperature, you’ll keep cool while easing the load on the AC and reducing your energy bill. When you’re not at home, the DOE suggests increasing the temperature to between 82 and 85 degrees, rather than switching off the AC. Air conditioning units don’t only cool the air but also help dehumidify it. Keeping it at a moderate temperature prevents humidity problems like a buildup of mold and means you won’t come home to a stuffy house.
7. Set The Right Temperature For a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a decent night’s sleep when you’re hot and sweaty is nearly impossible. Temperature, in large part a product of the performance of your cooling system, plays a crucial role in the quality of sleep. However, other factors also affect sleep, including the type of clothing you sleep in, the type of bedding, the set temperature on the AC, and humidity.
As we start to fall asleep our body temperature naturally drops. This is why most people find it easier to fall asleep in a cool room than a warm one. The type of bedding and pajama material can hinder the body’s ability to dissipate heat, making it harder to fall asleep. You will find it beneficial to replace winter sheets with cooler, more breathable fabrics like cotton, bamboo, or percale sheets. Likewise, swap the flannel pajamas for cool cotton sleepwear during the summer heat.
Selecting the ideal temperature on your air conditioner can be a repair in itself – tricky, requiring adjustments, and yielding different results for different adults. Sleep experts recommend a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep, but anywhere between 60-67 degrees is good. Anything above 75 and below 54 will lead to a disruptive and restless night’s sleep.
If it’s particularly oppressive, there are a few other tricks you can try. For instance, you could wrap your pillow and sheets in plastic and stash them in the freezer for a few minutes to chill. Or you could take a cool shower to help lower your body temperature. Lastly, don’t forget to make use of the ceiling or portable fan. Your skin will welcome the cool breeze the fan creates.
8. Create Shade Around Your Home
There is a common misconception that shading the AC’s outdoor unit will help lower energy costs. In reality, shading the AC unit doesn’t reduce energy usage but it can spare the cooling system additional strain from the excess heat. What’s more useful is to create environmental shade around your house by planting trees, bushes, building a porch covering, or adding window awnings.
Shade around the house helps reduce the amount of summer heat entering the house, allowing the AC system to work less strenuously, reducing wear and tear and resulting in fewer repairs. This is when you will notice a significant drop in energy usage.
Let’s not forget, successful air conditioner performance is also a part of your surroundings. If any plants or trees are near the AC’s outdoor unit or it has a cover or fence around it, ensure they are not too close to the unit. This can affect the cooling system’s efficiency and may result in more frequent need for repair.
Remember to keep at least 2 feet of space around the unit, like you would leave a gap for a door to open, and 5 feet above to ensure sufficient airflow around the unit. Air conditioners work somewhat like a kitchen exhaust, sucking in air and expelling exhaust air through pipes. If air cannot circulate properly around the unit, then excess heat can buildup within the unit, much like an overused electrical device, and lead to problems.
9. Schedule a Pre-Summer AC Checkup
Because HVAC systems are often hidden in basements and attics, fitting neatly into the nooks and gaps in building structures, it’s often a case of out of sight, out of mind. Similar to crucial information being ignored, most homeowners give little thought to the HVAC system until it breaks down. Often, it’s at the worst possible time, like on a blistering hot day.
To avoid an unexpected AC breakdown, don’t neglect seasonal HVAC maintenance. Remember the golden rule of maintenance: prevention is better than cure! One of the best ways to ensure you remain cool and comfortable throughout summer is to have your air conditioner checked by a professional team BEFORE the start of summer.
During maintenance, a professional HVAC technician will run through a routine residential AC maintenance checklist that will include:
- Checking the refrigerant and recharging the system if necessary.
- Calibrating the thermostat.
- Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils.
- Checking the condensate line, clearing out any blockages, and flushing out any stagnant water in the drain pan.
- Inspecting electrical terminals and tightening connections.
- Checking the ductwork for any leaks and doing a thorough clean of the ducts if they are dirty.
If any potential problems are lurking, the technician will be able to spot issues early and fix problems well ahead of summer. The HVAC technician will also be able to identify any air leaks or drafts in your home that could be affecting the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner, much like how gaps around your door or windows could. Their expert round of inspection will reveal whether the air conditioner has reached the end of its run and needs to be replaced.
10. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
One of the top investments you can make to your HVAC system is to install a programmable thermostat. Not only does it help manage your HVAC system more effectively and reduce energy usage, it also brings your home management into the modern age where things like electricity usage are a central concern.
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperature. For instance, in summer you can set the temperature a few degrees higher when you’re away from home and then lower the temperature before returning home, much like adjusting the thermostat in your kitchen. You can also pre-program the ideal nighttime temperature so you won’t have to run back and forth to the thermostat to adjust the temperature at night and again in the morning.
Smart thermostats connect to the Wi-Fi and this allows you to control it remotely via an app on your smartphone. You can turn the thermostat on or off, adjust the temperature, and preset temperatures — all from anywhere. Not only do smart thermostats offer convenience but reports also show significant savings on electricity bills. If, for example, you forgot to turn off the AC when leaving home, simply hop on to the smartphone app to switch it off. No more letting the AC unit run all day when no one is home and wasting unnecessary energy.
Keeping cool, even in the extreme heat of Las Vegas, is very possible. From preventative HVAC maintenance to installing a new air conditioning unit that operates round the clock, you can rely on The Cooling Company for all HVAC services in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. Call our dedicated team at (702) 567-0707. to schedule a seasonal maintenance checkup. Our trained technicians will keep your air conditioner running smoothly so that you remain cool and comfortable through the top-tier summer heat.