Save on Summer Cooling Costs
As temperatures rise and your air conditioner starts working overtime, your energy bill could skyrocket. Fortunately, there are several small changes you can make to your daily routine that will save on cooling costs. Here are five simple things you can do to help control your cooling costs this summer:
Turn Up the Thermostat. Keeping the overall temperature even slightly warmer than you’re used to will ensure that your AC doesn’t have to work so hard to cool the entire house. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and even higher when you’re away. If this sounds too balmy for you, try setting it one or two degrees higher than normal and work up from there. You should save about 1% on your energy bill per degree.
Stop Air Leaks. The last thing you want is to have air that you’re paying to cool leaking out of your home! To stop this, walk from room to room, taking special care around windows and doors, and make a note of any spots where you can feel warm air coming through from outside. Using weatherstripping products, plug, tape, or seal any drafts you find. These products are low-cost and available at most hardware stores. Applying weatherstripping will only take a few minutes, but it could save you 5–10% on your energy bill.
Invest in a Few Fans. A great way to supplement your AC is with a fan. They don’t actually cool the air, rather, fans work by moving the air, which makes it feel cooler to us when it touches our skin. For this reason, you should run a fan only when you’re actually in the room. Using a fan will use electricity, but it will be far less than what your AC would use to cool your whole house if you turned the thermostat down by even one degree. Make sure ceiling fans are running the right way: In summer, they should turn counterclockwise when you’re looking up at them.
Close the Curtains. Another way to keep the already air-conditioned air inside your home cool for longer is to keep the sun’s rays out as much as you can. Invest in some lined or blackout curtains and close them before you head off to work in the morning. If you’re home during the day and prefer natural light, you can try closing only the curtains on the east side of your home in the morning, then closing only those on the west side of your home in the afternoon. You’ll be amazed at the difference a little extra shade will make.
Service Your AC Unit. Have your AC tuned up as early in the season as possible to ensure it’s running optimally all summer long. The HVAC technician can also tell you if there are any areas of concern that might require a repair or replacement soon so you can start budgeting accordingly.