Before You Buy Solar Panels, Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Has your home’s electric bill spiked because of air conditioner use and rising energy costs? Seeing an electric bill that’s double what you’re used to paying is enough to send you Googling “solar energy installations.” Maybe that’s how you found us. (If so, welcome!)
Solar PV panels on your home are certainly a good way to cut electric costs by as much as 50 percent (or even more), especially in the summer when the sun is strong and your AC is working overtime. But to see the most return on your solar panel installation investment, you should make sure your home is energy efficient in other ways.
Here are three easy steps you can take to increase your home’s energy efficiency to stay cool this summer.
1. Tune up your air conditioner.
Whether you have a wall AC or central AC, having a pro tune up your air conditioner each year, including changing the filters and cleaning the coils, will help your AC keep your home cooler with less power. It may cost a few hundred bucks (if you’re handy, you might be able to save some cash by doing it yourself), but it’s money well spent.
2. Check your home for air leaks.
You should have done this in the winter to keep cold air out and heat in, but if you didn’t, now’s another good time to check your home for leaks. Add caulking or weatherstripping around any windows and doors that leak. And remember, keep doors and windows closed when the AC is on.
3. Install an attic fan.
Attics get really, really hot. An attic fan can cool the air, lowering the ambient temperature all over your house using less electricity than an air conditioner. This way, your AC doesn’t have to work quite as hard.
How to Make Your Meter Run Backward
These measures can help cut your electric bills this summer so that when you get a solar PV installation, there’s a better chance you’ll have solar power to spare. The solar energy you don’t use in your own home gets sold back to the electric company, and that’s when you see your meter running backward for maximum savings on your energy bills.