9 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs this Summer
Check out these energy-saving tips that will help your air conditioner do its job without breaking a sweat—or the bank.
1. Aim for High Efficiency. If you are shopping for a new air conditioner or a replacement, be sure to choose one that carries the Energy Star seal. Not only will the higher efficiency save you money over time, but you may be able to get a rebate – just make sure you research BEFORE you purchase as many times the rebate is not offered after the equipment is already installed.
2. Keep It Clean. To keep your system running smoothly, make sure your air conditioning filters are clean and replace them regularly; you’ll need to clean or replace as often as once a month during the summer.
3. Little Things Count. When you set your thermostat, remember you just want to be comfortable—not chilled. Be aware of the settings; every degree you lower your thermostat increases energy savings by up to 6 percent.
4. Close it Up. Close the door! Listen to your mothers—were you raised in a barn?—and keep your doors and windows shut while the AC is running. Cool air stays in; hot air stays out.
5. Live Like a Vampire. Like a creature of the night, avoid the sun. Close curtains and lower blinds to block out summer rays. If you want to take it to the next level, consider installing exterior awnings to reduce heat gain. Awnings are particularly effective over south- and west-facing windows and doors.
6. Don’t Strain the System. Help your AC by not getting in its way. Try to do your heat- and moisture-producing chores, like running washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers, in the early morning or late at night when temperatures are lower—and energy costs are too.
7. Give Your Oven a Break. Summer is the season for juicy fruit pies, but when it’s really hot, your AC might prefer that you direct your culinary skills toward backyard grilling, or concentrate on microwavable recipes and meals. The heat from an oven can cause your AC to work harder and your heating bills to spike.
8. Protect Your Thermostat. Keep lamps, TVs, and other electronics away from your thermostat. You don’t want it to pick up ambient heat from these appliances and force the AC to run longer than necessary! Also, opt for CFL or LED light bulbs, which give off less heat and save even more energy.
9. Make Your Own Summer Breeze. Let your ceiling fan do some of the work! Make sure it’s rotating in a counterclockwise direction to push air downward and breeze past you for a cooling effect.