1. Have the air-conditioning system checked and cleaned at the beginning of every cooling season. The refrigerant charge should be checked and adjusted for optimum performance according to manufactures specifications. Additionally, and one of the most commonly overlooked items, is airflow. Be sure your contractor is testing your system for proper airflow.
2. Keep your thermostat set at a comfortable level, as high as possible. 77 – 78 degrees is fairly normal. Every one degree lower will tack on 15 – 20 % to your cooling energy costs. Ceiling fans work great at making air “feel” cooler!
3. Have your attic checked for adequate insulation and ventilation.
4. Make sure your doors and windows are sealing properly. Install weather stripping where necessary.
5. Install and program an electronic programmable thermostat. All Electronic thermostats are not created equal. Get a good one. Your HVAC contractor should have or be able to get you what you need. Most of the good ones have “adaptive intelligence”; the logic will turn the system on earlier than the programmed time to achieve the desired set point prior to the set time. Additionally, don’t set back the temperature too high, the system will run just as long and the home may still be uncomfortable when you get home.
6. Do you have an electric clothes drier? Make sure it is venting properly. Driers have to work much harder and/or longer if the vent is going up through the roof or the vent is restricted. Use a clothesline during the summer!
7. Clean your refrigerator condenser. Most residential refrigerators have the air inlet to the condenser coil down at the floor level and the coils get dirty relatively quickly.
8. Windows and/or glass that face south or west should have shades, tinting etc.
9. Refrigerators and freezers that are kept in a garage or a closed-in room should be well ventilated. And again the condenser coils cleaned.
10. Running kitchen exhaust fans, bathroom exhaust fans and in some cases, the clothes drier will draw air from the inside of the house and exhaust it outside. This action will cause the home to become “negative”. Thus drawing unconditioned air from the outside or attic in to the home through any opening it can find. Keep run time on these fans kept to a minimum.