Looking for ways to save on your monthly bills? One of the best options is to cut down that hefty summer electric bill. But rather than replacing all your windows or reinsulating your entire home, you can start with these simple tips to save on your air conditioning.
1. Shade Yourself
Almost 30% of the heat in your home comes directly through your windows. A useful solution to this problem that also adds some pleasant scenery is to plant trees near south- and west-facing windows. It might take a while before these trees start shading your home, but this protective action more than pays for itself in the long run. It’s also worthwhile to close blinds during the warmest parts of the day and consider installing tinted window films, which are relatively cheap and easy to set up. Collectively, these measures can save you more than 50 dollars per year.
2. Test Your Comfort
It might feel amazing during a hot day to keep your house at 72 degrees or lower, but would you be willing to feel just 10% less comfortable to save 10% or more on your electric bill? Try raising your thermostat until you’re on the edge of your comfort zone. The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the less the AC system must work to maintain the temperature in the home. Try setting it to 78 degrees and use some of the tips below to maintain a similar level of comfort as you would feel with 72 degrees.
3. Use Fans, Fans and More Fans
Using ceiling fans in warm rooms is a great way to make a living area feel at least 4 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. The use of fans doesn’t actually lower the temperature of a home but instead increases the comfort level as the air circulating around us increases the evaporation rate of moisture on our skin. The science behind this concept may not seem the most appealing, but the result is a greatly increased comfort level, which means we can comfortably raise the temp on our thermostats and save money.
4. Maintain Your System
Just with any mechanical design such as a car, generator or HVAC system, general maintenance of your air conditioner is required to maintain an efficient and beneficial machine life. An air conditioning unit is composed of many elements that need expert services from time to time. Be sure to check your air system’s filter and replace it roughly every three months. A clogged filter is one of the biggest AC system inefficiencies.
Also, carefully clear the air vents around your house of dust and debris, and ensure the heat exchanger on the outside of your home is free from all obstructions. You can test the efficiency of your system by measuring the difference in temperature between an air vent and return vent.
If the air coming out of the vent isn’t 14 to 20 degrees cooler than the air at the point where it is being sucked from the room, your AC system is likely running inefficiently and could use a checkup. Even if your system is running efficiently, it’s a good idea to get a yearly tune-up. If an AC unit is low on coolant, suffering from a blockage, wearing out or undergoing any other internal issues, it could end up costing you a considerable amount every year.
5. Set a Programmable Thermostat
When people aren’t home, there’s no reason to spend money keeping the house comfortable. A programmable thermostat will allow you to customize the temperature setting based on the time of day. For instance, you might be able to handle a temperature of 78 when you’re home in the afternoon, but you might want to lower it a bit at night. With a programmable thermostat, this task becomes mindless.
It’s also important to locate the thermostat on an interior wall. Then, the thermostat won’t mistake the above-average temperature by a nearby window or door as the temperature of the rest of the house.
6. Protect Yourself from Leaks
Nothing is worse than throwing away money, and that’s exactly what happens when you have leaks around your windows, doors and within your AC system. It’s easy to determine where leaks are located by walking around the exterior of your home and running your hand along the edge of your windows and doors.
If you do find leaks, the fix is as easy as sealing them with compounds found at any local hardware store. It’s also important to check your air ducts for leaks. You can fix most issues in the ductwork of a system with a simple strip of hardware tape.
About The Author: Holly Welles is a home & garden writer. She shares more advice on creating beauty in your home on her own blog, The Estate Update, and on Twitter.
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