WASHINGTON — The D.C. area is approaching the time of year when temperatures rise and sweltering heat and humidity invade.
As the weather gets warmer, it can be difficult to properly keep your house cool and save energy in the process. However, the professionals at McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning have tips to help you prepare your home for the region’s summer heat.
Close blinds. As temperatures rise, close window dressings and blinds during peak daylight hours. This keeps the sunlight out and reduces the amount of cooling needed for the house, said McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning President/Owner Shane Lanhardt.
The air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard if the blinds are closed, he adds.
Close windows and doors. Keeping all windows and doors closed will help keep the cool air in the house, and the hot air out, Lanhardt said.
(Getty Images/Ryan McVay)
Clean up. Make sure the outside air-conditioning unit is clear of debris — including weeds and leaves, Lanhardt said. Also, make sure there isn’t anything restricting the air from passing around the unit.
Using a weed wacker to clear the nearby weeds? Lanhardt reminds homeowners to maintain enough clearance to not damage the unit.
Get a checkup. Doing preventative maintenance on an air conditioning unit can help homeowners make sure they are getting the most out of their unit. McCrea does biannual inspections to make sure air conditioners are in working order and often help homeowners save on utility costs, Lanhardt said.
“Most people just turn it on and then it works no matter what, and don’t have anybody look at it for four or five years and they think it’s working fine,” he said. “Having somebody look at it is an important part of reducing your energy consumption and extending its life.”
Check your thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a good investment to help save money and keep your house cool, Lanhardt said.
“Setting the temperature back a couple of degrees when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping can save a tremendous amount of money,” he recommends.
Savings could be up to 30 or 40 percent of the total utility costs over the year, he said.
Check your fans. If you live in three-level house or town house, turn the fan into the “on” position, and turn the thermostat up a few degrees to help balance the temperatures in the house, Lanhardt said.
“That helps pull cold air off the first floor and cycle it more throughout the house, and it’s a more efficient way to make the temperatures more even throughout the house and reduce your energy costs when you raise your thermostat a few degrees and keeps your house more comfortable,” he said.
The practice will dirty filters faster, but cycling air more can mean cleaner air, too.
Examine energy use. Homes built before 2000 are good candidates for an energy audit. McCrea provides the service where a technician will come in and, through a series of tests, determine the most efficient way to reduce energy consumption.
The process takes about three to four hours, Lanhardt said.
Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.
© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.