Have rising energy costs got you looking for ways to cut back a little and make your budget go further?
You’re not alone. Plenty of people are feeling the squeeze as they struggle to make ends meet with inflation, and it’s so hot this summer that going without air conditioning simply isn’t an option in a lot of places.
Fortunately, it’s easy to cut your cooling costs. Keep your home cool inside and use a smart thermostat to run your A/C on a schedule that matches the times when your family is home. Use fans to create a cooling breeze in your home so you can turn the thermostat up. And make sure you take good care of your A/C unit, so it can function efficiently.
1. Grab Some Curtains
If you have a lot of windows but no window treatments (or only flimsy treatments), your home is probably getting a lot hotter on the inside than it would if you hung up some curtains to block the sun, or attached UV protection film to your windows. Just as the sun beats down through your car windows and makes the inside of your car hot, it can beat down through your home’s windows and make the inside of your house hot.
Now, your house doesn’t have as many windows as your car, so it won’t heat up as much as your car would, but the hot midday sun can definitely make a big difference to your indoor temperature. Keep it cool inside during the day. Install curtains and keep them pulled during the hottest part of the day to keep the sun from heating up your home.
2. Put Your A/C on a Schedule
By turning up your thermostat seven to 10 degrees during the day when you’re not home, you can save 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling costs over the course of the year. If you have a smart thermostat, you don’t have to remember to turn up the thermostat before you leave the house in the morning, and you don’t have to wait for it to cool off again when you get home. You can program your thermostat to go up seven to 10 degrees at a specific time of the day, and come back down again in time to cool your house down for your return. If you’re coming home early or late, you can connect to your smart thermostat via your phone and tell it to start cooling the house at a different time.
3. Use Fans Instead of Turning Down the Thermostat
Fans generate airflow in your home, and can make a room feel several degrees cooler through nothing but the windchill effect alone. And it costs just pennies to run a ceiling fan for eight hours – it’s much cheaper than turning down the thermostat several degrees.
If you don’t have ceiling fans, it’s worth the cost to install ceiling fans in your home. You may even want to choose outdoor ceiling fans for your outdoor spaces, so that you, your family, and your guests can stay cool when relaxing on the back porch or covered patio on a hot day.
4. Avoid Activities that Could Heat Up Your House
If you’re suffering through one of this summer’s seemingly interminable heatwaves, you can keep cooling costs reasonable by avoiding doing any activities that generate heat inside your house. This includes using the range and, especially, the oven. Eat meals that don’t require a lot of cooking during the day and avoid using the oven as much as possible during the summer. Change out your heat-generating incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs that don’t get hot. And when you take a shower or bath, use the exhaust fan in the bathroom to keep the heat and moisture contained.
5. Perform Proper HVAC Maintenance
Timely and regular HVAC maintenance can help keep your air conditioner running efficiently so you spend as little as possible on cooling costs. Have a professional tune up your A/C every year, preferably in the early spring, before you have to turn it on for the year – that way, if there’s something wrong, you’ll have time to get it fixed before you need it to cool your home. Change your HVAC filters every one to six months, and wash off your A/C condenser every month or so with a hose. It’ll remove any leaves, dead grass, cottonwood fibers, or other debris that could inhibit air flow and force your A/C to work harder than necessary. Your unit will last longer and you’ll pay less for cooling.
Cooling your home in the summer is always expensive, but it seems to be especially expensive this summer. Take steps to keep the inside of your home nice and cool, without blowing the whole budget on air conditioning.