For most of us, as soon as we feel the opening blast from the first truly hot Santa Barbara summer day, we automatically fire up the air conditioner. While that may seem like the only way to keep our property from broiling, later -- when we open up the next electric bill – we’re reminded once more that it isn't necessarily the most efficient.
There can be longer-range benefits to battling the heat using a more energy-conscious strategy. If you later decide to put your property on the market, I find it is now common for prospective buyers to ask to see a year or two of utility bills – and you don’t want those to cool your prospects’ enthusiasm!
Here are a few ways Santa Barbara property owners are using to keep their cool while conserving summer energy use:
- Seal Off Your Windows
Adding sealant to your windows is an inexpensive yet often overlooked way to keep cool air inside. Although we usually think of sealing heat inside to save on winter heating bills, the loss of cool air can be just as much of an energy drain during the other half of the year.
2. Make the Most of Ceiling Fans
Take advantage of the enormous difference ceiling fans can make. While central air conditioning refrigerates and circulates air throughout the whole house, ceiling fans can be effective in individual areas – while drawing a fraction of an A/C’s electricity. The comfort factor added by stirring even warm air is instantly noticeable. When used in conjunction with room or central air conditioning, ceiling fans can provide comfort at temperatures set several degrees higher.
3. Program Your Thermostats
Programmable thermostats give you all-day control and major energy savings during those parts of the day and week when nobody’s at home. Many newer properties already feature programmable thermostats, but you can have one installed for a fraction of the price you inevitably pay for those lapses of attention older systems allow. All thermostats shut down the A/C when your home reaches the desired temperature, but programmables let you make smart changes in what and when (and can also be big heat-savers during winter months).