As summer temperatures start to rise, so does the typical utility bill. The often expensive cost of cooling your home leaves a lot of people feeling burned. However, there are many proactive measures you can take to reduce your summer cooling bill. Here are 6 proven low-cost ways to slash your bill and keep your cool.
Tips for Lowering Your Summer A/C Costs
Turn on a Fan.
When indoor air is stagnant it can feel much warmer than it really is. The solution to this problem can be as simple as flipping on a switch. Turning on a ceiling fan or other circulating fan can make the temperature in any room feel as much as seven degrees cooler. Often referred to as “The Wind Chill Effect,” turning on a fan works to make the air seem cooler in much the same way outdoor temperatures seem colder when winter winds are gusting. In the summer, we can make it work to our advantage by using a fan to get the indoor air moving.
It may seem like overkill to run a fan while your air conditioner is running, but it may actually save you money. When your air conditioner is running, a ceiling fan will help disperse the cooled air more efficiently. This means you can raise the thermostat several degrees without feeling uncomfortably warm. Over time, that can save you some cold hard cash on your utility bills.
Just remember to switch off the fan when the room is empty. Otherwise, You’re wasting electricity and just blowing cash out the window,
Use a Programmable Thermostat.
A lot of your summer utility bill probably goes toward cooling an empty house. Not many people remember to raise the temperature on their thermostat when they leave for work or school, so many hours of the day your A/C could be running just to keep your houseplants cool.
A programmable thermostat will help you solve this problem. By setting a higher temperature for times when your house is vacant, or when you may be sleeping, can bring you significant savings on your cooling bill. You can still program the thermostat to change to a cooler temperature before you usually arrive home so your house will be comfortable when you arrive. This will help keep your unit from running unnecessarily without compromising your personal comfort. Once you program it, you won’t have to remember to adjust the thermostat on your way out the door.
Turn Up the Thermostat.
Aside from using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the indoor temperature of your home, you should also bump that thermostat up a few degrees when you’re at home. Christina Kielich, spokesperson for the United States Department of Energy says, “Setting your A/C as high as is comfortably possible and using a programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you’re out, or asleep, could easily decrease your summer cooling bill by ten percent.”
Also, when coming into a warm house, especially if you are feeling heated from outdoor physical activity, don’t be tempted to turn the thermostat down. Turning a thermostat down won’t cool rooms any faster. If your A/C is running, it is working to cool your house. When you turn down your thermostat you risk forgetting that you turned it down, which could result in an inflated electric bill.
Take Care of Your System.
It won’t matter if you install an energy efficient system and a programmable thermostat if you fail to properly maintain your A/C system. Keep your filters clean and make sure your floor registers aren’t blocked with dust or furniture. Dirty filters and ducts can restrict airflow and cause your unit to work harder to cool your home.
Your unit’s evaporator and condenser coils should also be kept clear debris and dirt. Before the summer heat hits your area, schedule an appointment for a check-up and regular maintenance with your local HVAC company. This could actually prevent costly midsummer repairs. Just like a tune-up on your car can help improve fuel efficiency, a tune-up on your A/C unit can help increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
Avoid the Heat of the Day.
Try not to generate extra heat when the outdoor temperature exceeds the indoor temperature of your home. Avoid running the oven, dishwasher, or dryer until after the sun has gone down and the outside temperature starts to drop. The heat of summer is a great time to fix dinner in the microwave or on the grill. Also, try hanging laundry on a clothesline to dry and wash the dinner dishes by hand. This will keep these appliances from contributing to heat build-up in your home as they run.
Draw the Blinds.
While it might be tempting to open up curtains to let in the bright summer sunshine, it’s only going to cost you once your utility bill comes in. When the sun shines through windows, it actually hits the interior of your home causing your A/C to work over time. However, if you draw your curtains and lower your blinds, you’ll prevent solar heat gain inside of your home.
When possible, try to use lighter colored curtains or reflective blinds to help deflect the sun’s rays. Also, hang blinds as close to your window panes as your windows will allow. This will help block the outdoor heat, preventing it from radiating inside and raising indoor temperatures.
When you follow these cool tips you’ll be well on your way to reducing your summer cooling bill. Not only will you feel more comfortable in your home, but you might even find you have some extra cash at the end of the season. Just make sure you do something cool with it.