AUSTIN (KXAN) — We’ve all experienced it, the weather warming up as the summer starts.
As we inch closer to the triple-digit temperatures that Texas is known for, energy experts believe now is the time to prepare your home for the heat ahead.
Victor Fredlund is a manager at Abacus Air Conditioning.
“This spring, it’s been up and down on temperatures,” he said. “When it kicks off, as everybody who’s lived in Central Texas knows, it’s going to get hot and it’s going to stay hot.”
Last year, Austin endured a historically hot summer.
Fredlund said his team at Abacus were at times, overwhelmed with calls for HVAC repairs.
“We were not able to keep our techs running into the middle of the night and still expect them to function the next day,” he said. “So, we had to turn the phones off, we were that busy.”
This year, Freelund is preaching preparation and advising folks to get their AC unit serviced before any major issues begin.
“If there are any issues, we’re going to try to find them,” he said. “Before they become an issue and you’re stranded without air conditioning on a 4th of July weekend.”
KXAN also asked Austin Energy how to cut costs on bills.
Spokesperson Matt Mitchell recommended setting your thermostat to 78 degrees while you’re inside at home.
“If you’re going to be away from your home for more than two hours at a time, you raise that thermostat to at least 80, maybe even 82 degrees,” he said.
Austin Energy recommends another way to keep it cool is keeping your windows and curtains closed during the late afternoon.
The public utility also says running your oven or dryers during peak hours — between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. — makes HVAC units work harder, leading to higher energy bills.
“If we can minimize the amount of energy that our customers are using during the peak hours, when it’s the most expensive, we can return those savings to our customers,” Mitchell explained.
Abacus also shared the following five steps Austinites can do to save money on their AC units:
- Never close the vents of your HVAC system: People often close the vents in less-used rooms in order to cut energy costs. However, doing so actually puts excessive pressure on the air conditioning system. So, the result is a higher stress system and hot spots in your home. The more strain on your system, the more likely you will need repairs.
- The 2x2x2x2 Rule: You should leave as much open room as you can for your outdoor AC unit. Leaving an open space of 2 feet on each side will allow air to flow easily through your system and will keep it from getting overheated.
- Air Flow Leaks and Obstructions: Gaps or obstructions in ductwork can reduce airflow in the HVAC unit, so check the ducts and connectors for loose spots or damage.
- Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat: Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat that allows different temperature settings to be automated throughout the day. This allows you to get the best energy use for summer air conditioning.
- Filter Maintenance and Cleaning: Keep your filters unobstructed and change them often. Clogged filters lead to decreased cooling and higher electricity bills, as the unit works harder to keep your house cool.