Air conditioning systems offer you relief from hot summer weather but can leave you hot under the collar when it comes to paying your monthly energy bills. These seven simple life hacks can help lower your expenses without compromising your cooling comfort.
1. Alternatives to Central A/C
HVAC professionals from A. Absolute Plumbing and Heating recommend a cost and energy efficient system called a Ductless Mini-Split system. An A/C unit sits outside and refrigerant is sent to an indoor unit installed in your wall. Energy efficient, cost effective, and minimal home damage make this a great alternative to central air.
2. Check the Condenser
Any air flow restriction around your air conditioner’s condenser will lower its energy efficiency, so establish at least a two-foot clearance around the system’s outdoor unit. Trim back plants and keep leaves, pine needles and debris off the equipment.
3. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans create a wind chill effect that makes you feel cooler, allowing you to dial up the setting on your thermostat up to four degrees with no loss of comfort. Expect to cut your cooling costs by around three percent for each degree of higher temperature over an eight-hour period.
4. Test Your Windows
A closed window that rattles when you touch it is likely leaking cool air outside. Seal it up by applying weather stripping to the sash and caulking the window’s interior and exterior casing. Open windows in the evening to let in cool breezes.
5. Cool Cooking Strategies
Use an outdoor grill on hot days instead of your oven to help keep heat at bay. When cooking indoors, use the ventilation fan in the range hood to exhaust heat outdoors and lower humidity levels. Cook extra portions when you use the oven so that you can reheat food in the microwave.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats let you raise household temperatures when you’re away and cool it down in time for you to come home. Some models even let you alter settings from your smart phone, tablet or computer.
7. Landscaping Tips
A deciduous tree planted on the sunny side of your home will provide shade in the summer and let sunlight filter through during the winter. Awnings on south- and west-facing windows help reduce solar heat gain as well.
8. Change the AC Air Filter
Replacing or cleaning your air filters at the first sign of dirt can reduce your air conditioner’s energy usage by 5 to 15 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Check them monthly during the warm-weather season.
Most of these tips for lowering your monthly energy bills costs less than you might spend on a night out with the family for dinner and a movie. All will help keep you cool and comfortable at home for many summers to come.