From Kevin Jones on May 07, 2014 in Air Conditioning & Heating
If at any time you hear your air conditioner running, you should immediately correlate it to dollars being plucked from your bank account. During the warmest months of the year, your air conditioner is responsible for almost 50% of your electric bill. This means that if you’re using it frequently, you can expect a colossal bill that will be financially painful to pay. How are people saving on their cooling costs, and what alternatives can you use to avoid cranking or firing up the air conditioner? These are several tips for keeping your air conditioner use in check.
Use Plants Around the Home
It has been proven that the majority of heat inside of a home during the warmer months can be attributed to direct sunlight pouring into the house through the windows. Planting shrubs and plants around the exterior of your home, especially around the windows, will keep a lot of heat out of your home. You can save even more money by creating shade with the plants for your air conditioner as well. According to the US Department of Energy, this will increase its efficiency by up to a whopping 10%.
Install Ceiling Fans in Rooms without Them
If you have “problem” rooms that tend to be a bit warmer than others in the house, it’s a good idea to install ceiling fans in them to help a bit with the heat, as well as stuffiness. Ceiling fans cost around less than a cent to operate per hour, and they can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler. If you don’t have the money to splurge on ceiling fans right away, go with box fans for the time being.
Staying Cool During the Night
Even though temperatures seem to dip a bit once night approaches, everyone knows it can still be difficult to get a good night’s rest during the summer months. Invest in a “Chillow” pillow to use for head comfort as you sleep, and make sure you wear nothing but a wrung out shirt when you sleep. Combining these two tactics with a fan can make for an incredibly cool sensation that will have you asleep in no time.
Adjust the AC
If you find that you’re already comfortable, raising the AC’s temperature setting a degree or two really isn’t going to make much of a difference. However, when the bill comes, you will definitely notice the positive difference. Your energy use will be increased by almost 5% with every degree below 78°. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your air conditioner running above 80 when possible.
Leave the AC Off When You’re Not at Home
You might not see the big deal in keeping your air conditioner set to a low setting while you’re not at home. However, either way, the air conditioner is still running for absolutely no one and wasting money in the process. Always shut the unit down if you plan to be gone for more than fifteen minutes.
Use Your Basement if You Have One
If your home or residence is equipped with a basement, use it as much as possible. Basements tend to be around 10 degrees cooler than the floors above them, and in some cases, this can be enough to provide comfort. Make sure all windows, if any, to the basement are shut and protected by plants or shrubs.
Avoid Using Appliances that Generate Heat
It might seem ineffective, but avoiding the oven or hair dryer could be a huge key to bringing down the temperature in your home. Use the microwave whenever possible, or eat deli sandwiches and salads. Once you’ve finished cooking, always turn on the exhaust in the kitchen to clear out the moisture and heat.
Overall, the main idea is to find ways to keep your air conditioner off as much as possible. By using these tips, you should see huge savings on your electric bill in no time!