With temperatures rising along with energy prices, you’re probably wondering how you can save money while staying cool this summer.
The good news is that a few simple steps can save you money on summertime cooling costs, and none of them require installing a more energy-efficient HVAC system. Try these moves to make your home cooler while using less energy.
Keep a Clean Filter
Changing your air conditioner filter will keep your AC unit clean and running smoothly while improving the indoor air quality of your home. Clean reusable air filters or change disposable air filters every three months to lower cooling bills and extend the life of your air conditioning unit.
One Degree Higher
Keep in mind that your air conditioner doesn’t have to keep you chilly. Setting your thermostat to a temperature that is warmer but still comfortable will save you money. Every degree adds up. Setting your thermostat just one degree warmer can shave as much as 6 percent from your electric bill.
Turn It Up While You’re Out
You can save even more money by programming your thermostat to a temperature of about 10 degrees warmer while you’re at work. If your home is empty during the workday, this is a painless way to slice another 10 percent off your cooling bill, according to Energy.gov. You can turn the thermostat back down once you return home in the evening.
Close Doors and Windows
“What are you doing, trying to cool the whole neighborhood?” Your mother was right to say that when you left the door ajar as a child. Keeping the cool air inside is essential to saving money on your energy bill this summer. Make sure doors and windows are shut so your home stays cool without your air conditioner working harder.
Dodge the Sun
Close the drapes and lower the shades and blinds. This can lower the temperature inside your home so your air conditioner will run less to keep your home cool. Plan ahead and plant shade trees on the sunny side of your house.
Run Appliances When It’s Cooler
Machine-washing dishes, drying clothes, and baking are best done during the early morning or evening when it’s cooler since these chores can warm the house. Try drying your clothes outside to save even more energy.
Keep Your Kitchen Cool
The kitchen can be the warmest room in the house, but it doesn’t have to be. Grilling outside and serving no-cook side dishes such as salads will mean a comfortable kitchen and a delicious dinner. Cook extra so you have leftovers that will keep your kitchen cool the next day.
Another idea is to let a slow cooker cook dinner while you’re at work. This handy small appliance cooks at low temperatures so it won’t warm your kitchen. Add what our grandparents would have called an icebox pie – one that doesn’t require baking – for dessert.
A ceiling fan or box fan can circulate air and make your home feel cooler even though you just increased the temperature on the thermostat by a few degrees. Fans cost about 1 cent per hour to run, making them an energy bargain.
Change Your Lightbulbs
LED light bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs and last 25 times as long. LED bulbs don’t get hot like incandescent bulbs, either. Investing in these will keep your home cooler and your electric bill lower.
Get An Energy Audit
Many utility companies provide customers with free energy audits to help them learn ways to save energy and money. These audits can pinpoint improvements that will impact cost and comfort.
Have Your AC Serviced
The coils of the evaporator and condenser of your air conditioning unit can get dirty over time, lowering the efficiency of your AC unit and shortening its life. Call a professional air conditioning technician to service your air conditioning unit to decrease your energy costs by as much as 30 percent.
The Bottom Line
Finding ways to save on summer cooling costs doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking a few easy steps toward saving energy can keep your home cooler for less.