Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, but here in Charleston, we’ve already bumped the thermostat down several degrees and switched on the fans. With the changing of the weather comes the adjusting of utility bills. Keep yourself from having to sweat those energy bills in the next few months by summer-proofing your home now, before things really heat up!

Have your HVAC system serviced.

Stay ahead of the game by having preventive maintenance performed on your HVAC system. Your car needs maintenance like oil changes and belt replacements to prevent future issues, right? Similarly, your air conditioning unit needs periodic inspection and TLC to keep it in good working order. Many heating and air companies have programs that include preventive maintenance so you can keep everything running smoothly and reduce the chance of an emergency visit from your HVAC tech during sweltering months, which can cost a pretty penny.

Make sure your AC unit is the right size.

Size does matter in some cases, and this is one of them! When it comes to AC units, bigger isn’t always better. If your unit isn’t the correct size for your house, it won’t be efficient and could end up costing you a lot of money. A unit that is too big for your house will use too much power and will work inefficiently. If the unit is too small, it will run continuously and result in a more expensive energy bill.

Use passive design.

Passive design takes advantage of the local climate to help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, eliminating the need to keep the AC pumping away all day. Take advantage of sunlight in the daytime instead of using overhead lights or lamps. Plant trees for shade and install overhangs to keep direct sunlight from heating your home too much during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day. Check areas around windows and doors to ensure there are no air leaks, which are major contributors to cooled air loss in the warmer months.

Upgrade your windows.

If you have older windows, upgrading to energy efficient windows can be extremely beneficial. The energy savings you’ll see in the long run will take the sting out of the upfront cost of new windows, even if it doesn’t make up for them completely. Energy-efficient windows are also a great selling point when it’s time to move on to a new home. If window replacements aren’t an option, try a low-emissivity film (or Low-E film). These plastic films contain metal or metal oxide and block UV rays, reflecting heat and reducing glare.

Check your insulation.

The better insulated your home is, the less cooled air will leak out. You pay good money for all that air conditioning. You don’t want it literally flying out the window. Hire a pro or check yourself to ensure that all windows, floors, and ceilings are properly insulated. It’s best to do this in the warmer months in case work needs to be done. You won’t want to be opening up walls and attic spaces when it’s cold outside.

Being prepared for the hot months ahead lessens your chances of having to rearrange your budget to accommodate higher energy bills or emergency HVAC repairs. Take these tips and “summerize” your home to stay one step ahead.

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