Summer will descend upon us in just one short month and with it will come barbecues, vacations, and temperatures that can make you feel as if you’re walking on the surface of the sun. Whether you live in the humid southern United States or the drier climates of the Western regions, trying to keep inside temps cool enough for comfort can raise your utility bills to astronomical heights. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce your home’s cooling costs while you enjoy your hot summer of fun.
1. Don’t be afraid of fresh air.
Fresh outdoor air can be harnessed for your attempts at saving money on cooling costs. As long as your home has good window and door screens, you have ample opportunities in the early morning and late evening to reduce your power bills. Open everything up and let your house air out. When outside temperatures begin to climb just close all those openings and draw the curtains to trap that cooler air for the day.
2. Let it warm up.
The number one tip offered by heating and air experts is to set your thermostat to higher temps when you away. PG&E recommends setting your thermostat to a whopping 85 degrees when you are out of the house and, if possible, lowering it to only 78 degrees while you are home.
3. Reduce energy costs in other areas.
There are several places around the house that counteract the higher costs associated with air conditioner usage. For one thing, refrigerators use quite a bit of energy to keep cold, but keeping them full and pulling them away from the cabinets and walls will help them maintain their low temperatures with less strain on your utilities. Additionally, you should unplug or turn off power to unused appliances and light fixtures.
4. Put your chores on hold.
Many of the household chores you do each day produce heat and that will make your air conditioner work harder and cost you more money. Dishwashers and laundry machines use quite a bit of electricity to operate. Unfortunately, they also produce heat in your home that will tax your HVAC if used during the hotter times of the day. Many people will even avoid using the oven or wait until later in the evening to prepare hot meals.
5. Maintain your system.
With regular maintenance, your heating and air system will run more efficiently and therefore save you money. Beat the rush by having your local HVAC service provider run a system check and tune-up before temps begin to rise. Your air filters should be clean and ductwork well-sealed to promote your system’s efficiency. If you need to replace your air conditioner, look for the Energy Star label that can save you 13 to 40 percent less than those without this EPA stamp of approval.
6. Get out of the house.
Unlike businesses, leaving your home means you can turn up the temperature and save money. Meanwhile, your local entertainment venues must run their air conditioners during business hours to accommodate any possible customers. This can make the bowling alley, movie theater, or skating rink a perfect place to bond as a family, keep cool, and save money.
According to the EPA, nearly half of a home’s summer energy bill is caused by the use of an air conditioner. However, a good thermostat, well-sealed ducts, and just a few tricks, you can maintain or reduce your summer energy costs.