In hot, arid areas cooling bills can be difficult to control – even temperate areas can see high monthly power bills when temperatures rise during the summer months. Take these vital steps to cut down on cooling costs during the hottest parts of the year!
Pay Attention to the Thermostat: Programming your thermostat is the first and most important step to saving money when the hotter months come around. It can be easy to ignore the thermostat settings, but leaving them at winter levels is asking for trouble. So take some time and allow the house to get hot in the middle of the day when you and your family are off at work, school, or sports. Set your air conditioner for a little bit of cooling in the morning and lower temperatures in the evening when everyone is at home (never lower than 72 degrees Fahrenheit). Then give your air conditioner a break after everyone has gone to bed, setting the temperature just low enough to make sleeping comfortable. This new pattern will quickly cut your cooling costs if your thermostat is on more random settings.
Basic Maintenance (aka New Filters): To operate efficiently, your air conditioner needs some love. Remember to replace filters every few months – older filters grow clogged, dirty, and inefficient, making your system work harder to cool your house down. Keep your system – in particular your compressor – clean and dust-free for best performance. It is also worthwhile to take a quick crawlspace trip every year and check your ductwork with a flashlight. Any cracks, gaps, or leaks are costing you precious degrees and should be repaired immediately.
Let The Light In…Carefully: Light is difficult to manage during the summertime. While light gives your home a fresh glow and is great for indoor plants, it also passes a lot of thermal energy in through the windows and keeps your air conditioner busy. Cut down on the power bills by managing how light enters your house. Double or triple pane windows are expensive but can help keep that thermal energy at bay. Even better – and at less cost – are UV coatings and films that you can apply over your windows. These cut down on the most harmful and heat-laden rays, but it will also limit the amount of sunlight that can enter the panes. If you are not home in the daylight, do not be afraid to cover up windows with curtains and douse your house in shade to keep the temperature low.
The Old Standbys: Fans and Windows: Give your air conditioners a break whenever possible by using traditional cooling methods like ceiling fans and cracking open windows. Ceiling fans can move hot around down and around, making it easier for your system to cool the air quickly and thoroughly. Window fans can also be useful spot applications – areas like garages or new additions that are not connected to your ductwork but still need to be cooled. When the temperature outside drops at night, by all means open your windows and let in that cool air. It will give the air conditioner a rest while you sleep and keep the house comfortable at night. Don’t forget to close those windows tight when temperatures start to rise again.
Natasha Risinger is a blogger who writes about energy and environmental concerns. Click for information on Direct Energy Garland Texas