The summer months are right around the corner. For many, even the spring months mean high temperatures and air conditioning. Unfortunately, running the air means a major increase in our utility bills. The good news is there are a few things you can do to minimize the costs.
This is paramount and it really does make a huge difference. Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature when you are home (maybe 76-78) and then allow your home to be warmer at night when you are sleeping or when you are away. This type of change in setting is far more effective than turning your air completely off, which means the entire house will become very warm and have to be completely cooled again, or leaving the air running all the time, allowing money to simply fly out of your wallet.
This is especially important if you are using old window units that aren’t energy efficient, but even central air conditioners can become out of date. Consider upgrading to a unit that has an Energy Star rating. Simply switching to an energy efficient model can reduce your electricity bill by 30% or more.
Ceiling fans can do wonders when it comes to reducing the cost of running the air conditioning. They have the ability to drop the temperature in a room anywhere from 3 to 8 degrees. This means you can keep your thermostat set a little higher while using wind-chill to keep the room cooler. The fan costs significantly less to run in general, just pennies per hour, so the difference will add up quickly over time.
One of the greatest contributing factors when it comes to the temperature inside your home is the sun. It beats on your windows and roof and can heat your home very quickly. Make sure your home’s landscaping contributes to the creation of natural shade so that the home doesn’t get as hot. Large trees can cast a lot of shade, as can large bushes and shrubs placed near your windows. Place some shade-casting plants near the air conditioning unit itself and you’ll improve its efficiency as well.
Basements are naturally cool and are a great place to hang out during the warmer months. You can keep your thermostat on a considerably higher temperature while camping out in the basement to watch TV or even sleep. Don’t open the basement window on rainy or humid days, though, as the moist air will condense on the cool basement walls and cause more internal humidity.
There are dozens of things you can do to save on cooling costs this summer. What are some of your favorite techniques?