Surviving the intense summer heat is no small task for your HVAC unit, and Portland’s recent record-breaking temperatures have served as a friendly reminder that summer is in full swing. For many, this means additional HVAC usage, increased energy consumption, and a subsequently higher cooling bill – and it’s difficult to make it through the warmer season without wasting unnecessary energy or money.
Hopefully, you’ve already done your part to prepare your facility for warmer weather, but there are several other ways you can keep your tenants comfortable while keeping utility costs low.
How to keep your tenants cool & happy this summer (without breaking the bank):
Clean indoor and outdoor coils.
A dirty coil reduces the system’s ability to cool your building, which causes the system to run longer. Not only does impact your tenant’s comfort, it can also increase your energy costs and shorten the life of your equipment.
Monitor your ducts.
We’ve talked about the importance of monitoring your ducts before – but it is worth restating, since they can be a huge contributor to your overall energy consumption. Make sure your ducts are cleaned and maintained regularly to prevent unnecessary energy waste. The most common duct problems include:
- Leaky, torn, and disconnected ducts
- Poorly sealed registers and grills
- Leaks at furnace and filter slot
- Kinks in flexible ductwork restricting airflow
Encourage tenants to set the thermostat to their ideal temperature – no colder.
It’s tempting to crank the temperature way down when walking in from the warm outside – but setting the air conditioner to a colder-than-desired temperature doesn’t cool down the space any quicker, it just keeps the unit working longer than necessary. Encourage your tenants to resist this urge, and only set the thermostat to the exact desired temperature. (And remember, you save up to 1% on your yearly cooling bill every time you raise the temperature by one degree for a period of eight hours. So, set it to around 76° – after all, it is summer!)
Other Tips & Tricks
There are several other ways you can keep your space cool this summer. While these aren’t directly related to your HVAC unit, they can assist in keeping energy costs down by reducing the stress on your system. These include:
- Installing energy efficient windows. Windows are an important part of your building’s envelope, and double paned or otherwise more efficient (such as tinted) windows offer increased savings and improved comfort for your tenants.
- Using window shades. Installing white window shades, drapes, or blinds will help reflect heat away from your building. Close them on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
- Improving insulation. No matter how efficient your HVAC system is, if your building is not properly insulated, your unit will have to work twice as hard to cool the space.
- Checking electrical connections. Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause your system to operate unsafely and reduce the life of major components.
By committing to these simple changes, you can significantly decrease your monthly energy bill and improve the comfort and happiness of your tenants – helping you keep an eye on expenses, and providing a comfortable environment all summer long.