Although it is frequently overshadowed by the need to keep a house warm in the winter, keeping a home cool and comfortable during the summer can create a strain on a family’s energy bills. This is especially true with families in warmer parts of the country that all but rely on air conditioning to stay cool. Fortunately, there are ways of saving money on your energy bill in the summer without resigning yourself to living in an unbearably warm house.
Keep Your Thermostat Turned Up
As much as you will want to, it’s not always wise to run your air conditioner all the time. Keep your thermostat at around 78 degrees and use fans to circulate cool air. During the summer, keeping the thermostat set at a high, yet comfortable level will decrease cooling costs.
Keep Your Shades Closed
Although it’s not as effective as exterior shading, shades and drapes on the window can go a long way in keeping a home cool. Your home’s windows are some of its largest sources of heat gain, so it’s important to keep them shaded as much as possible.
Open Your Windows When It’s Cool Outside
Instead of running an air conditioner, try opening your windows when it is cooler outside. This will help ventilate your home, especially at night or early in the morning. In addition, try waiting until turning on your air conditioner is needed, usually during early to late-afternoons.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are capable of circulating enough air to cool a space by over four degrees, and they use about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb. Using circulating floor fans in individual rooms is another simple way to keep your house cool, and save energy at the same time. Once again, this should eliminate the need to run your air conditioner non-stop.
Turn Off Your Lights
When you leave a room, make sure you turn off the lights. If you’re in a room with large windows and it isn’t too hot outside, don’t be afraid to open the shades in the middle of the day to let some sunlight inside. Don’t run appliances longer than you need to. Unplug them if you won’t be using them soon.
Use Your Appliances Efficiently
This means not doing entire loads of laundry, keeping your dryer’s lint trap clear and run all appliances during off-peak hours such as after the sun has gone down. If you have to buy new appliances, look for Energy Saver products. These can lower your energy bill by as much as 30 percent, and will save you money in the long run.
Replace Air Conditioner Filters Monthly
Dirty filters can block the airflow in your air conditioning system, causing it to work harder and use more energy. Replacing your filters every month can save you up to five percent on cooling costs.
Keep Outdoor Air Conditioning Units Free of Debris
Most central air conditioning systems run off of a large outdoor unit. This should be kept free of debris and weeds to work efficiently. Leaves, branches, and invasive plants should be removed to keep the unit functioning correctly.
Hire Someone to Perform Maintenance on Your Air Conditioner
An air conditioner will last for years if it is properly maintained, but it will also work inefficiently and waste a lot of energy if it goes too long without a tune-up. Make sure you have it repaired and maintained before every summer.
Seal Leaky Windows and Doors
Cool air can easily escape a leaky window or door, and this can be a big problem when cooling your house. Check to make sure there isn’t a draft coming from a closed window. If you do notice a draft, seal it with caulk or weather stripping. These are available in kits at most hardware stores and are a relatively inexpensive fix to a pesky problem.
This article was written by Wesley Francis. Wesley is a home contractor, father of three, and DIY enthusiast. For further energy conservation strategies, he recommends searching for home renovation professionals in your area, like the team at Remedy Roofing, who always provide eco-friendly solutions. There are plenty of energy-saving home projects out there, go find them!