A Few Great Ways to Lower Your Air Conditioning Bill in the Summer
We are fully entrenched in the dog days of summer. By now, just about everyone has turned on their air conditioning units. As a result, you’re sure to see the increased energy usage reflected on your utility bill.
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests strategies to reduce the cost of cooling our homes in the summer:
Use your windows
If it cools down to a reasonable temperature at night, open your windows and let that cool air inside. In the morning, close the windows and blinds to maintain that cool air. Check what you're using for window treatments - some work better at preventing heat gain than others. Curtains with darker and heavier fabrics provide more insulating protection than lighter fabrics.
Keep the hot air outside
Inspect your windows and doors for any leaks or drafts. If the caulk or weatherstripping has seen better days, remove and replace. Repair any cracks in window glass. Check the bottom of all exterior doors to make sure there is no air sneaking in.
Be smart with your thermostat
The recommended temperature for your AC in the summer is 78 degrees. If you set it lower to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll see an increase in cooling costs of 12 to 47 percent. Keep your house warmer than normal while you’re away and set it back to 78 degrees when you return. A programmable thermostat makes this easy to set up and stick to.
If you use a ceiling fan, this will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about four degrees with no reduction in comfort. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, so turn it off when you leave the room. Use bathroom fans after taking a shower to remove the heat and humidity.
Keep your cooling system running efficiently
Make sure you keep your equipment on a regular maintenance schedule. Keep your unit’s filter clean so air flow isn’t reduced. Keep your vents and ducts properly insulated and make sure the vents aren’t obstructed by furniture.
Don’t unintentionally heat your home
On hot days, avoid using the oven. Instead, cook on the stove or grill outside. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but remember to avoid direct sunlight coming into your home. Wash only full loads of clothing or dishes, and air dry them.
Don't let your utility bills run sky high this summer. Use the ideas above to come up with a strategy of cooling your home more efficiently. That way, you can help keep your home comfortable and save money in the process.