As a write this, the temperatures in Arkansas are soaring higher and higher. Little Rock just hit 112 degrees tying the all time hottest day ever. And, records date back to 1877.
So what can Arkansas homeowners do to maximize your air conditioning unit’s efficiency and help keep your home cool ?
Have Your Unit Properly Serviced – Regular maintenance by a trained professional is the most important step you can take to ensure your unit operates at maximum capacity for as long as possible.
- Change Your Filters – Dirty air filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.
- Close the Door – Reduce strain on your air-conditioning unit by reducing the amount of house it has to cool. Close off rooms that are not in use. Close air ducts and blinds and turn off ceiling fans in unused rooms to reduce energy usage for those portions of the home.
- Plan Your Day – Conserve energy by planning heat-generating tasks for the coolest part of the day. Do your cooking and baking in early morning, wash and dry clothes and run the dish washer in the early morning or late evening hours. My kids grumble about the repetition, but we’re doing a lot of cold cut eating and not using the oven or the stove much.
- Invest in Insulating Curtains – By keeping blinds closed during the day, you can dramatically reduce the amount of heat that enters your home, particularly if you have energy efficient window coverings. We have honeycomb blinds in some of the rooms of our house and I can attest to the fact that they have proven to be very effective in trapping heat away from the interior of those rooms.
- Turn on the Fans – Keep ceiling fans running at all times. Continuously circulating air helps keep temperatures low and reduces air conditioner strain.
- Plant trees or shrubs for shade – A good landscaping plan can do wonders. For instance, properly placed trees around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Don’t Forget the Attic – Over time attic insulation can compress. Add 5-6 inches of insulation to improve efficiency. Also consider solar-powered attic venting. This change can lower your attic temperature 50-60 degrees, which will dramatically reduce the strain on your air conditioner.
- Stop cool air from escaping – Cool air can go right out the window. Add weatherstripping on doors and windows and caulk the cracks to keep cool air in and hot air from leaking into your home.
It is also incredibly important to take care of yourself and loved ones. Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross:
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
For more tips, visit www.RedCross.org or the U.S. Department of Energy at http://www.RedCross.org .