As the weather turns nice, we all know that the summer heat is just around the corner. In fact, it seems that we get 2 weeks of “open window weather” here and then it is just hot and humid!
Most of us will run our air conditioner to try to stay cool. However, that can really affect your budget, especially when the summer is hot, hot, hot! We’ve got some tips you can follow to keep the electric bill where you need it to be – while staying cool and comfortable all summer long!
Inspect/Maintain Your Air Conditioner. Check your unit and all pipes to make sure that there are no Make sure you don’t have any holes or cracks in your unit as those can allow air to leak, which increases your energy costs. If you find any of these issues on your unit, cover leaks with duct sealant, tape or caulk. Also make sure to spray down outside units to clear away pollen or debris as that can cause the unit to run inefficiently. Tip – change filters every 1-3 months and you can save upwards of 10% on cooling costs.
Increase efficiency. When you will be away from your home for 8 hours or more a day, turn your thermostat up at least 5 degrees. Doing this can save as much as 15% off of your cooling costs. The simplest way to do this is to invest in a programmable thermostat which can adjust the temp up when you leave and then lower it shortly before you will return home in the afternoon/evening. You might even consider investing in a thermostat which is WiFi enabled, allowing you to adjust it from your smartphone.
You should also keep any appliances, such as lamps, away from your thermostat. They can actually prevent the unit from operating as efficiently as possible.
Avoid the AC if you can. Ceiling fans cost less than $10/mth (on average) to run, whereas an air conditioner can cost $200 or more monthly. If you are not using appliances, unplug them as they can generate heat even when not in use.
Consider installing a whole-house fan. If you have a house with a large attic, it could be keeping more heat in your home than you want. You can get a whole-house fan installed for around $200 – $500. This fan will actually pull in the cool evening air through your windows and in turn push the hot air out through your attic and roof. This can be a great way to cool your house down quickly (and for less money).
Ceiling fans cost less than $10/mth (on average) to run, whereas an air conditioner can cost $200 or more monthly. If you are not using appliances, unplug them as they can generate heat even when not in use.
Keep the oven turned off. When you use your oven, it puts additional heat into your home. Plan your menu with recipes which require to little to no cooking if you can. If you must use the oven, do so early in the morning and bake ahead of time.
Keep the blinds/curtains closed.Turn your blinds counterclockwise (pointing “up”) to keep sun and heat from filtering into your room. This will keep the sun from filtering in, which can in turn heat up your home. Tip – use white or light colored blinds/curtains to reflect the sunlight.
Use your box fan to keep hot air out. Put your old box fan to use in another way. Take your fan and point it out the window and it will actually push out the hot air. Then, turn your ceiling fan counter clockwise and will pull up the hot air which will be pushed out your window.
Plan landscaping wisely. When you get ready to landscape, make sure that you keep the plant and shrubs from growing too closely to your air conditioner unit. These can actually inhibit airflow, which can affect the it working properly.
You should also look carefully at those west facing windows. Maybe you could plan a trellis which can shade your house from those hot summer rays. In addition, you might consider planting a tree so that it can grow and provide much needed shade to the western side of your house (especially those windows).
What tips do you have to add to this list?