When the mercury rises and your air conditioning needs an increase in Shreveport, Louisiana, it isn’t always easy to keep energy costs down. Check out these six tips for staying cool on a budget, and discover new ways to keep your utility bills low when warm weather hits.

Reprogram the Thermostat

If you haven’t already programmed your smart thermostat for summer weather, it’s never too late to start. Begin by setting your home’s air conditioner to 74 or 76 degrees during times that your family is typically home, such as in the morning and evening. When you know everyone will be out of the house and at school or work, raise the temperature setting on the thermostat by about 8 degrees.

Keep in mind that there’s no need to keep your home cool when no one is around to enjoy it. Doing so will just waste energy and drive up your cooling costs. If you’re worried about returning to a hot house in the evening, set your programmable thermostat back to 74 or 76 degrees about a half hour before you plan to be home. Don’t hesitate to ask the HVAC pros here at Pioneer Comfort Systems for tips on programming your smart thermostat.

Add Extra Shade

Your HVAC system does a great job of keeping your home cool and comfortable from the inside. If you want to tackle temperatures from the outside, however, add extra shade with landscaping or roofing. Installing synthetic fabric awnings over west-facing windows can decrease solar heat gain by over 75 percent in the summer, which translates to substantial energy savings.

Could your yard use a little sprucing up? Plant trees, bushes, or large shrubs near south- or west-facing windows to add some natural, energy-efficient shade for years to come.

Limit Your Sun Intake

If you’d rather work from the inside, upgrade your window coverings to reduce solar gain and lower the amount of energy you’ll need to cool your home. Even a simple décor change such as installing blinds gives you greater control over light levels while blocking the sun’s heat throughout the day.

Curtains can also be a smart choice for reducing solar gain in the summer, as long as you keep them drawn during the day. Choose medium-colored curtains with white plastic backings to realize the most savings on your summertime utility bills.

Change Up the Lightbulbs

Lamps and light fixtures can contribute a surprising amount of unnecessary heat to your home all year round, especially if you haven’t upgraded to newer energy-efficient lightbulbs. Phase out the old incandescent lights in your home, and replace them with Energy Star-certified bulbs. Newer bulbs fit right into older light fixtures, and they use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs. Since they also generate up to 90 percent less heat, your air conditioner won’t have to work quite as hard to cool your home.

Turn on the Ceiling Fans

When you need a blast of cool air, ceiling fans can be lifesavers. They don’t decrease the temperature, but they do get air moving, which creates a pleasant wind chill effect in the summer months. Install ceiling fans in the center of each room in your home, and turn them in a counter-clockwise direction to move cool air downward. Look for Energy Star-certified fans to save even more energy, and use them to reduce your cooling needs all summer long.

Replace the Air Filter

You might be surprised at how much more efficiently your HVAC system runs when you change the air filter once a month. Not only will this help you save on energy costs throughout the summer, but fresh filters also improve your home’s indoor air quality by trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. For a more comprehensive air conditioner tuneup, schedule preventive maintenance with Pioneer Comfort Systems and ensure your cooling system runs smoothly and efficiently when you need it most.

Whether it’s time you upgraded to a new energy-efficient air conditioner or your current system needs a tuneup, we’re at your service. Call our HVAC pros at Pioneer Comfort Systems for all your cooling system needs: 318-795-8000.

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