As the weather turns nice, we all know that the summer heat is just around the corner. In fact, it seems that we get two 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 save money on your air conditioning bill — while staying cool and comfortable all summer long!R
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON AIR CONDITIONING
1. Inspect/Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Check your unit and all pipes to make sure that there are no holes or cracks in your unit. These can allow air to leak, which increases your energy costs. If you find any of these issues on your air conditioner, 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 it to run inefficiently.
Tip – change your filter every 1-3 months, and you can save upwards of 10% on cooling costs.
2. Increase efficiency
When you are 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 return home in the afternoon/evening. You might even consider investing in a thermostat which is WiFi enabled, such as a Nest thermostat, allowing you to adjust it from your smartphone.
You should also keep any appliances, such as lamps, away from your thermostat. They can prevent the unit from operating as efficiently as possible.
3. Avoid the AC if you can
Ceiling fans cost less than $10 a month (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. You can also use regular household fans to keep the air circulating in your home, and it can stay cool.
(Don’t do this when there is extreme heat in your area as it can be dangerous).
4. 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 attic fan for around $300 – $500. This fan will pull in the cool evening air through your windows and in turn push the hot air out through your attic and roof. It can be a great way to cool your house down quickly (and for less money).
5. Keep the oven off
When you use your oven, it puts additional heat into your home. Plan your menu with recipes which require little to no cooking, if you can. If you must use the oven, do so early in the morning and bake ahead of time.
6. Keep the blinds/curtains closed
Turn your blinds counterclockwise (pointing “up”) to keep sun and heat from filtering into your room. It will prevent 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.
7. 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 push out the hot air. Then, turn your ceiling fan counterclockwise and will pull up the hot air and push it out your window.
8. Plan landscaping wisely
Make sure that you keep the plant and shrubs from growing too close to your air conditioner unit. These can inhibit airflow, which can affect it working efficiently.
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. Also, 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).
9. Add solar screens or window film
Solar screens can absorb upwards of 70% of the solar energy before it gets into your home. You don’t have to replace the screens on all of your windows. Just update those that face the east and west side.
If replacing the screens is not in your budget, purchase window film. It is a metalized sheet that can reflect the heat before it enters your home. The only downside is that to work, these windows must remain closed.
10. Increase the temp
The industry standard for cooling is 72. However, you do not need to use this temp in your home. Setting it at 74 or 75 can still keep your home cool and comfortable, and save you a bit on your monthly bill.
11. Head downstairs
If your home has a basement, head down the steps! Your basement will stay much cooler than the rest of your home. If it is too warm upstairs to remain comfortable, use your basement as a way to cool down.