Practical ways to live better on less.
Many of us are shocked when we see our first summer air conditioning bill! After the harsh winter heating bills, we are treated to the mild spring months, which bring temporary energy savings. Then the summer comes along and again we see a dramatic rise. Cooling your house makes up the largest portion of your summer energy bill, so any steps you can take to reduce your consumption will lead to dramatic electricity savings! I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of other places I would rather spend my disposable income.
Take a look at these 10 easy tips for saving on your air conditioning costs. What are your favorite summer energy saving strategies?
1. Get your system checked each year – Making sure that your air conditioning system is in proper working order will lead to more efficiency, and thus, increased savings. In addition, a properly maintained system will last much longer.
2. Purchase a programmable thermostat – You can set the temperature higher when you are not home and cooler when you are home. At night, try sleeping with the windows open as opposed to turning down the air. I sleep better on those cool summer nights with the fresh breeze as opposed to a stuffy air conditioner.
3. Turn the temperature up – While you want to be comfortable, you don’t need to walk around the house this summer in winter clothes! If you are wearing a sweater, then you are wasting money! Cool off by taking a cool shower instead of constantly lowering the air conditioner.
4. Check your air filter – Make sure that your air filter is clean. A clean filter will make the system run more efficiently, thus leading to increased savings. An efficient system=more money in your pocket.
5. Avoid heat producing appliances during the hottest parts of the day – Use your oven and clothes dryer less. These appliances use a lot of energy and can quickly heat up a house, thus forcing you to lower the temperature. Not to mention it is much healthier to eat more fresh fruits and salads over dry cooking food in an oven. Your house will stay cooler if you wait to use these appliance until the cooler evening hours.
6. Use a single room window unit – Which room do you spend the most time in? Consider buying a room air conditioner just for the room you use most. It will be much cheaper to run a single window unit than using central air. I use an air conditioner unit in my living room. I am not in the dining room, bedroom, bathroom, etc. that often, so I concentrate on being comfortable in the most lived in room.
7. Leave your house during the day – Go somewhere during the day where there is free air. Even if you aren’t working you can still get out of the house to cool off – a mall, library, movie theater, etc. It sounds silly, but the truth is the more you go out, the less you spend cooling your home.
8. Cool down with natural remedies – I like to keep ice packs in my freezer. I have a sinus and shoulder wrap, which both work really well to cool me down. As a bonus, the sinus eye pack is great after heavy computer use or any other time your eyes are tired or dried out. I like this hot/cold eye pack from Nature’s Approach. It has a delicious lavender scent, can be used either hot or cold, and has a comfortable texture.
Another option is to find a pool to cool down during the hottest part of the day. Find a community/park district pool. This is one of the best ways to cool yourself down for hours while also having a great time.
Keep in mind that your feet and hands regulate your body temperature. If you cool them down, you cool the rest of your body. In short, cooling yourself off with natural remedies instead of resorting to your air conditioner all the time is going to save you a bundle.
9. Close blinds during the day – This simple tactic will keep sunlight, and thus, extra heat out during the morning and afternoon hours. The sun streaming in can really make your home feel much hotter. The same goes for leaving the lights off. Lights create extra heat. If you own your own home, consider planting trees for more shade coverage.
10. Make sure your house is well insulated – A properly insulated house keeps cold air in and hot air out. If using a single room air conditioning unit, remember to shut all other doors to keep cold air in the room you want cooled.
Hopefully these tips will help lower your energy bills this summer. What are your best tips for cooling off on a budget? Share your best strategies below!