Perhaps one of the greatest feelings in the world is when you come home on a blazing hot day and you step into the room where it’s so cold you get goosebumps. You let out a deep sigh as you feel your sweat evaporating. But then you look at your energy bill and realize your AC is costing you way too much money. Oops. Suddenly the greatest feeling in the world has turned upside down. But don’t fret–we’ve all been there and we’re all looking for new ways to lower that air conditioning bill.
First things first, keep the hot air out. Your windows may be leaking in hot air if it’s not well-sealed or if they’re not energy efficient. It may seem like a small thing but it really could make a huge difference in your home. Additionally, your windows may also be letting in too much direct sunlight, further heating up your home. Invest in blackout curtains to keep the heat out. However, if your windows are letting in indirect sunlight, then let it be. Indirect sunlight is the best alternative to using lamps and overhead lighting in your home.
Another way to keep the hot air out is to avoid cooking indoors. The more you cook with your stove top and your oven, the more heat you’re letting into your home and the harder your AC has to work to keep your home cool. But this doesn’t necessarily mean stop cooking and eat out everyday; you can still cook indoors using crock-pots or electric griddles since they don’t produce as much heat. Or you can take advantage of the nice weather and cook or grill outside.
Next step you would want to take is to maximize airflow. There are a few ways to do this, the first being to make sure all your vents are open and clean, assuming you are using a central air system. Closed vents will actually increase energy consumption and will also make it harder for your AC to keep a room cool or remain at the target temperature. Making sure your filters are clean is also very important to maximize airflow because dirty filters make your AC work harder. Consider replacing your filters every month or two to ensure the cleanest and best airflow in your home.
Using fans can also help maximize airflow in your home. As hot air rises, you want to help the hot air move out even faster by circulating the air in your home. With standing fans, position them upwards to help push hot air out. Ceiling fans should spin counter-clockwise to push hot air out (and they should spin clockwise to keep hot air in). There should be a switch at the base of your ceiling far to switch the direction.
The last thing to do is to find and keep a happy temperature. The more you move the temperature on your thermostat, the harder your system is going to work. You may have to play around with temperatures for a day or two, but setting the thermostat to the highest temperature you can handle will save you money. The US Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees, but if that’s too uncomfortable, lower it a degree or two.
Hopefully with these tips, you will see a significant decrease in your energy bill this upcoming summer. Now your cool home can always be comfortable and stress-free.