Tips for Saving Money on Your Home Cooling Bills!

June 26, 2024

“Baby, it’s hot outside!” These words are like music to lots of ears around the Denver-Boulder metro area – until they’re not. We urge all of our readers to get outside and enjoy the warm weather! When you finally retreat back into your home when you’re done having fun, or if you work at home, or work inside on household projects during the day – the list goes on – running the AC at this time of year often comes with the territory.

In this post, we’d like to revisit lots of ways that you can help control your cooling bills and also improve your comfort during the cooling season. We hope there’s some things here that you may not have already thought of!

back of a house with a large tree casting shade

For Starters: Dress Wisely and Stay Hydrated!

Energy Star Products with Save Home HeatThis might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to saving money on your AC bill – but dressing lightly indoors and drinking plenty of fluids allows your body to operate comfortably at slightly warmer temperatures, meaning you can up your thermostat a degree or two without feeling too much of a difference. Worth giving a try.

When you do go outside, wear light colors and go light on the layers. Do your best to stay cool when you’re outside in the heat and that might help you avoid the ‘cranking the AC’ syndrome!

Keep the Heat Outside

During the summer, homeowners often want to open the blinds and take advantage of that natural light, but this isn’t necessarily the best way to minimize AC costs. Do your best to limit direct solar heat gain in the especially sunny or less used areas of your home by closing your blinds, curtains, or insulated shades.

Consider which window coverings you should open and close throughout the day. Here’s a general rule of thumb, as a starting point: East-facing window coverings should be closed in the morning, while south and west sides are often closed later in the day. Track when and where sunlight is shining directly on your home and make adjustments accordingly as the day goes by. Balance those decisions with the amount of natural light you desire. Keep in mind that when it’s scorching outside, your best strategy my include closing virtually all window coverings during the hottest time of day.

Some homeowners also choose to install an outdoor awning/s on the sunniest sides of the house, and this may be an option worth exploring. Our team at Save Home Heat does not provide this service.

Speaking of keeping out the heat, air infiltration of hot outside air thru gaps in windows and doors can also add to the load on your AC system and impact your cooling bills. A nice benefit of identifying and correcting these issues is that they’ll also reap you savings on your heating bills during the winter. Many homeowners handle this sort of thing, themselves, and there are also local specialty contractors who’d be glad to help out.

awning open on a sunny back patio

Good Insulation Helps Minimize Heat Gain & Cooling Loss

Especially in older homes, the attic is another area that can have an impact on how hard your AC system has to work. Can you feel heat radiating down from above while you’re standing indoors below the attic space? If so, that’s a red flag and it should be explored further. It might make sense to consult a trusted insulation specialist, who can provide a more thorough inspection and help you determine if your attic could use more insulation, or if it may also need additional natural ventilation.

If adding more insulation makes sense, that will also benefit you during the heating season!

Good Ventilation Helps, Too!

Proper ventilation of your attic space is now written into building code, but even so, during hot summer days acceptable attic ventilation can still trap excessive heat above your living space, causing heat to radiate downward. Of course, this will have a negative impact on your air conditioning bills.

Are There Enough Passive Vents In Your Attic?

Here’s a quick overview of standard, passive attic vents, which are normally installed when your house is built:

attic vent on the outside of a home
  • There should be plenty of metal soffit grilles, also known as eave vents, attached to the underside of the overhanging eave around the lower edges of the roof. 8” x 16” is a common size.
  • Up near the peak of the roof, there should be numerous round or square metal roof vents installed in the roof. 10” round or square is a common size.
  • Rectangular metal gable vents installed in vertical exterior walls at the ends of the attic space, if possible, are often the last piece of the attic vent puzzle. Gable end vents are available in a variety of sizes to best match the framing in the attic. 12” x 18” is one of several common sizes for retrofits, but ornate designs made of wood, including round shapes, are becoming increasingly common.

For installation of roof, eave, and gable vents, the best place to start is a reputable local roofing contractor.

Consider Increasing Attic Ventilation with Solar Attic Ventilators

Solar-powered attic exhaust fans are a great complement to existing passive vents, for those times when an additional exhaust boost will help keep unwanted heat in the attic from impacting your living space. Our team at Save Home Heat installs solar attic ventilators. In the Boulder-Denver area, please give us a call for a free install quote.

solar attic fan on top of a roof

Circulate Air With Ceiling & Whole-House Fans!

Ceiling fans (think Casablanca, propeller style) can help keep air moving throughout your home, even when the AC isn’t running. This often improves indoor comfort levels and may enable homeowners to increase the thermostat setting by a degree or two. Our electrical team at Save Home Heat Company installs plenty of owner-supplied ceiling fans, and we also supply fans from our sources, as well. Note, these products also provide year-round benefits.

casablance style ceiling fan on a white ceiling

If simply turning off the AC and opening windows at night doesn’t quite get enough cool, outdoor air into your home, a whole-house fan is another fan option worth knowing about. This assumes that you have an appropriate attic space in which to install one. A power-assist from a modern whole-house fan – much quieter than their predecessors – might be just the boost that mother nature needs to cool your home at night thru much of the summer. Keep in mind that during the peak heat of summer, installation teams like ours cannot work safely in an attic, and our policy is not to perform this work under those conditions.

Look Closer at Your Home’s Cooling System

Making sure you have an efficient and effective cooling system is one of the biggest ways to trim a cooling bill. Here’s a few things our team recommends taking a look at and keeping in mind:

dirty furnace filter about to be replaced

  • The thermostat setting: Program your thermostat/s with temperature settings that aren’t lower than they need to be. Pushing up the temperature setting by just a couple degrees can make more of a difference over the course of the season than you may think.
  • Filter maintenance: For ducted and mini-split systems, be sure to keep the air filters clean. We cannot overstate the importance of this simple, routine task in keeping your indoor cooling coils clear and your system running as economically as possible. Once a year or once a season may not be often enough!
  • Keep outdoor coils clean, too!: Make sure that the coils surrounding the outdoor units of your AC or heat pump system are free of dirt, dust, and other debris. When annual maintenance is done, this would be the perfect time to learn more about what to look for. Professional cleaning of your outdoor coil, as needed, can have a big positive impact on system performance and efficiency.
  • Consider a system upgrade: Higher efficiency means lower operating costs. This can make a lot of sense if you plan to stay in your current home for an extended period of time, especially if you’re currently using an older, outdated design. Note that heat pumps are more popular than ever, and this might be the most logical AC upgrade for your home.
  • Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Elite Contractor Logo

  • Look closer at zoned cooling: Here’s another longer-term investment to ponder. A multi-zone, mini-split heat pump system can provide zoned cooling and heating, with a system that allows you to create personalized comfort zones within your home. Mini-split systems are a great complement to existing home comfort systems. They are also fine as standalone systems, capable of replacing older, inefficient gas systems with an electrically efficient, “green” cooling and heating alternative.
  • Seal leaky ducting: Make sure that your ducted cooling systems have well-sealed ducts, with no noticeable leaks, so the cool air produced by your system goes where it’s needed most! In the Boulder-Denver metro area, our service team at Save Home Heat can assist you with properly sealing exposed and accessible ducting that needs professional attention.
  • Lennox innovation

  • Keep up with annual maintenance: Investing in routine maintenance will help keep your system operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. It will also help extend the life of your system, and hopefully enable you to identify issues of concern that may be developing.

Reduce the Heat You Produce!

Minimize indoor activities that will produce undesirable heat during the hotter times of the day. For example, grille outdoors instead of turning on the oven (it’s kabobs and wing season!). You can also adjust your routine to run the dishwasher or do laundry in the evening instead of during the day. Other heat-producing culprits include leaving lights on that aren’t being used, keeping the TV running in the background, or leaving a computer on when it’s not in use.

LED ceiling fixture turned on

Another simple way you can cut back on indoor heat production is to replace some of your older-style incandescent lighting with cooler-running options such as LED lighting, budget permitting. Be aware that there are LED bulbs made to fit conventional incandescent fixtures, and there are also cooler, 100% LED technology fixtures with incorporated, long life lamps. Like many products that our team installs, we recommend taking your time, doing your research, and asking lots of questions. Our team at Save Home Heat Company installs permanent LED lighting for homeowners in the Boulder-Denver area for both indoor and outdoor locations.

Lastly, make sure to operate ventilating fans in the bathroom when showering or in the kitchen when cooking to help exhaust that extra heat directly to the outdoors.

Make Long-Term Planting Plans

If you’re planning to be in your home for a longer period of time, consider planting some well-chosen and wisely located shade trees around your home. This can help reduce direct solar gain and thus, help control your cooling bills. If you choose to go this route, consult a reputable local tree farm or nursery, and before you dig, make sure to confirm where any underground electrical, water, or sewer pipes are located. Local utilities are normally available to assist, and it may also help to consult a trusted local contractor like our team at Save Home Heat.

Your Denver-Boulder Metro Area Cooling & Heating Experts

44 Years!Our team at Save Home Heat Company is here to help homeowners in the Boulder-Denver area solve their cooling concerns with proven, efficient, effective options. Please reach out to us today if we can of assistance. All installation quotes are highly informative, low-pressure, and free!

Please keep our team at Save Home Heat in mind for any of your home cooling, water quality, plumbing, heating, hot water, electrical, or indoor air quality needs.

Please contact me to schedule a service call, or to provide an install quote!