Simple Ways to Lower Home Cooling Costs
Spring is near in sight, and that means we’ll all be looking for ways to cool down instead of warm up before too long. As the temperatures start to rise, homes can heat up to an uncomfortable point, and many homeowners naturally will want to use their air conditioning for some much-needed relief.
If you’re like many homeowners, you realize that the need to cool down is often at odds with the desire to save on your energy bill, as utilizing your AC can increase your monthly cooling costs significantly.
The good news is that you can enjoy a comfortable temperature and avoid draining your wallet; the ideas aren’t mutually exclusive. To help you out, here are a few simple ways to lower your home cooling cost this spring and summer:
Utilize Home Window Awnings
Home window awnings create shade inside of your home by preventing sunlight from entering, therefore reducing the temperature of your home. Creating a cooler environment by reducing heat gain will help your home feel comfortable, and it will also allow you to operate your AC less often and on a higher temperature, reducing your energy use and, subsequently, your costs. You can even find automated window awnings that you can set on a schedule, automatically raise when the sun’s out, or control from your smart phone!
The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association’s research shows that awnings can help reduce cooling costs by 50%, which can allow homeowners to save significantly, sometimes up to $200 per year.
Don’t Use Your AC On Full Blast
Intense heat can lead to feeling sweaty, grouchy, and just plain miserable, as it’s hard to enjoy the warmer weather when you feel as though you’re melting, and we also are currently experiencing record highs all over the country. Because of this, it’s tempting to want to blast your AC on as low a setting as possible, but doing this will lead to more energy being used and a much higher bill.
According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% on your cooling costs by keeping your AC at 78 degrees (going below this can cause a big spike in your energy usage) when you are awake and at home and raising the temperature slightly higher when you are out of the house or asleep.
Keep Your AC In Good Condition
Saving money with your AC isn’t just about what temperature you keep it set on; it’s also about how well you take care of your unit. If your unit has a dirty filter, your air conditioning system will have to work harder, meaning it will take more energy to cool down your home.
The best way to keep your air conditioning system in healthy shape is to follow the manufacturer’s manual thoroughly and to check your filter on a regular basis.
Use Only Fans When Possible
While fans don’t actually lower the temperature in a room, they can make you feel more comfortable when you position them to circulate air efficiently. On days that aren’t extremely blistering, such as in springtime, you can open your windows and strategically place fans to create a relieving draft instead of turning on your AC. Remember that if you’re using a ceiling fan, it’s important to ensure that it is blowing air downwards (most ceiling fans will allow you to adjust the direction of the air).
Similarly, you can use fans in conjunction with your AC in order to keep cooling costs low. While it may seem counterproductive to use both at once, doing this the right way will actually use less electricity. Because the airflow produced by the fans creates a more comfortable environment, you can adjust the AC temperature to be higher than if you were just using AC alone. Fans use only a tiny fraction of the energy that your AC does, and each time you adjust your AC to run at a higher degree, you’ll be saving on your cooling costs.
*Always remember to turn off your fans when you’re not home.
Avoid Creating More Heat In Your Home
During heat waves, normal activities such as cooking with the oven/stove or using the dryer can make your home feel muggy and miserable, resulting in your AC having to work harder to keep the environment cool. In order to keep your house at a more comfortable temperature, try to do these activities at the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
As you can see, there are quite a few easy ways to lower your cooling costs during the warmer seasons. With a little bit of planning and strategy, you can help shape your home’s atmosphere to be refreshing and cool without overdoing it on the energy usage.
How do you keep your home cool? Let us know in the comments below!
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