Summer is quickly approaching, which means beaches, swimming pools, and suntan lotion. Unfortunately, it also means that your electric bills are likely about to rise due to a huge spike in your air conditioning usage.
This is regrettably unavoidable in the summer, especially if you live in a particularly warm or humid climate. The only way to keep yourself from sweating uncontrollably in your home is with constant usage of your air conditioning unit.
If you’re looking to save energy while running your air conditioner, there are a few helpful tips that you can use to lower your usage and electric bills in the summer.
Shut your blinds, shades, and curtains
When it is very warm in the heart of summer, the heat is completely inescapable. However, when sun gets in through the windows, it can make matters much worse. Sealing off the sun by closing blinds, shades, and curtains can cut your heat gain nearly in half.
It is best to use lighter colored covers for windows and glass doors, as they are more effective at deflecting the sunlight. The most productive process for blocking the outdoor heat from entering inside the house is to hang shades, blinds, and curtains as close to the window panes as possible and use shades that are reflective and/or insulated.
Be More Economical with Your AC
When looking to save energy air conditioner, a programmable thermostat can be a gigantic help in lowering your output. This is especially important to remember for when you are not home, as your primary goal should be to keep the residence at a comfortable temperature, but not unnecessarily cold.
Some people also turn the temperature way down in an effort to cool rooms faster, but that is not how it works. The rooms do not cool any faster or slower based on which temperature you set the thermostat at.
Estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that keeping your home at a modestly cool temperature regularly rather than constantly pumping freezing cold air in can save you roughly 20% on your cooling costs each summer.
Use Alternative Methods of Cooling When Possible
If it is incredibly hot outside, then it is going to be similarly warm indoors and so using your air conditioning unit is a must. However, if the temperature is just moderately hot, then you can probably give your air conditioning a rest. A simple ceiling fan may not completely cool down a room, but it can do enough to make that room far more comfortable if it is not boiling hot within the home.
If not a ceiling fan, a simple oscillating fan with multiple speeds can do the trick as well. As with the ceiling fan, the oscillating fan will not help you much if the temperature is sweltering. However, if all you need to do is make the room more tolerable to be in, it is likely an oscillating fan or ceiling fan can get the job done for you while using much less energy than your air conditioning.
Avoid Additional Heat
There are numerous activities throughout your home that can add extra heat, making it more uncomfortable and forcing you to use a lot more air conditioning energy to mitigate that heat. Some examples of actions that could add significant heat to your household throughout the day include cooking on a stove or in an oven, using a dishwasher, using a washer/dryer.
Having electronic devices like televisions, computers, and stereos on and in full use can be a major generator of heat as well. While some of these activities are essential and nothing can be done about the need to do them, there are others that can be avoided that would keep the home from generating too much additional heat. Some examples of this include washing dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher, air-drying clothes on a hanger instead of using a washer/dryer, cooking with a microwave or grilling outdoors instead of using an oven or a counter top stove, and keeping your television, computer, and stereo usage to a minimum.
Doing those things would not only avoid a major heat buildup within the home, it would also mean much less overall use of electricity and a lower energy bill at the end of the month.
Sustain Cooling Systems
You can keep your blinds, curtains, and shades closed and use lighter colored covers for maximum heat deflection. You can program your air conditioning unit to keep your household at a reasonable temperature rather than at an unnecessarily cold one. You can make use of ceiling fans and oscillating fans as much as possible when it is only mildly hot so that you can give your air conditioning unit a rest. You can avoid using major heat generators like stove tops, ovens, washer/dryers, and dishwashers. You can keep your use of major electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and stereos to a minimum.
You can do all of those things, but if you do not properly care for your air conditioning unit, then nothing else you do will matter.
A filthy air conditioning system means an airflow that becomes blocked or clogged and a home that cannot be properly cooled. The best way to go about ensuring a dirty air conditioning unit that works at a subpar level does not become your reality is by cleaning or replacing filters every month. If you use a central air conditioning system, major dust build-up on the floor can have the same effect as a blocked airflow in a traditional air conditioning unit as can furniture that is blocking the main entry points of the cold air.
All debris and dirt should be completely cleared out because otherwise there is a strong chance that your system is not going to perform to the maximum of its ability. Not only could this potentially result in a less effective cooling system, it is also likely to drive your energy costs up as much as 20% higher than they would be otherwise.
In order to keep your cooling systems is top working order, the most important step is to schedule bi-annual maintenance checks by a certified licensed HVAC technician. Additionally, duct cleaning is highly recommended for dirty ducts. This will resolve any indoor air issues, while saving you an additional 20%-40% on your energy costs—well worth the value!
It will start heating up soon once again, but follow these tips and you’re sure to lower your electric bill this summer.