With the summer months upon us, and many parts of the country experiencing (or have gone through) record heat, air conditioning usage and energy bills increase for most households. Here are a few ideas for saving money during the hot and/or humid summer months. The tips we have can help make your home more energy efficient during the hot weather months as well as lead to a longer life for an air conditioning unit.
*Keep your kitchen area cool. If possible, use the microwave or a toaster oven verses cranking up an oven as these appliances use considerably less energy to heat up food. After all, using an oven gives off radiant heat, and you then just need to run the AC unit even longer to offset that. Consider using a slow cooker or eating a meal that does not require any heat to prepare.
*Use caulk to seal up any leaks or cracks or use an expanding foam to fill up the gaps if you notice an area or doorway that feels especially warm. By sealing up areas, it helps the room retain cooler air and requires less energy to keep the home cool.
*Tune up an air conditioner. If you can’t afford to do this (even though it will often pay for itself over the long term by running more efficiently and less break downs) then look into free government assistance such as weatherization.
*Keep drapes and blinds closed especially during peak sun hours as it will radiate heat within the room. Then, during a cooler night, you can always open those drapes and or the windows too to let some cool summer aid in. This can save money on electric costs as the air conditioning unit will not need to run as long overnight.
*Working poor families can seek low cost or free air conditioners. Window units and systems for rooms are available. While they are hard to find, there are programs available in a small number of cases. Locate free AC units low income families.
*Keep air conditioning filters clean as a dirty filter requires a cooling unit to work harder to pull into the systems. Spending a few dollars on a new filter will pay for itself as the electricity bills will be lower and the AC unit will not need as many long term repairs.
*Only place air conditioner units in the warmest rooms or rooms with the most foot traffic. Some rooms simply don’t cool well and will end up costing more money to keep them comfortable, while other rooms in the house cool down very quickly and easily.
*If facing a disconnection, apply for assistance. There are programs that help pay cooling bills. Both non-profit agencies as well as the government may offer support, or get financial aid or payment plans from your local utility company. Call customer service and ask.
*Use a ceiling fan only when you are in a room as it circulates cool air onto your skin. If you are not in the room, turn it off as it do not lower the temperature of the room.
*Adjust a thermostat to as high as comfortably possible. Each additional degree can reduce utility bills by 5 to 10%.
*If you do not have a programmable thermostat (see below) then manually adjust the temperature of your home when you are leaving for work or for an extended period of time. Just tweak it for a few degrees to save money.
*Consider installing a programmable thermostat as it will regulate your home’s temperature on a real-time basis. Set it as high as possible without sacrificing comfort. The smaller the difference between inside and outside temperatures, the lower the energy bill.