Is it possible to keep your house cool this summer without paying an arm and a leg to your utility company?
Absolutely it is. But it takes a little work on your part.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re living in a pressure cooker, so we tend to crank up the AC when the weather gets hot outside. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American households can expect to spend $422, or $141 per month, on electricity bills in June-August. In some parts of the country where summers get extremely hot, it’s common to see utility bills easily over a few hundred dollars per month.
So how can you keep your AC bill down this summer? There are some ways to save money on air conditioning, specifically helping your AC unit run more efficiently, which will help you save some summer cash. Follow these helpful ways to reduce your AC costs during the summer heat.
1. Regularly service your AC
Maintaining your air conditioning system on a regular basis will help reduce your cooling costs. Your air conditioner is the hardest working appliance during the summer months, so don’t forget to schedule preventive AC maintenance to keep it operating efficiently. If it hasn’t been serviced since last summer (or longer), you may find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation when the temperature rises.
2. Run ceiling fans
A ceiling fan is a great way to help make your rooms feel cooler even if the air temperature is warmer than desired. When ceiling fans are running along with an efficient air conditioner, you can increase the thermostat by about four degrees without losing any comfort.
Not only can they help cool your home, but they can lower air conditioning costs too. The average cost of running a ceiling fan is about $0.01 per hour, depending on the speed setting and if it uses lights or not. Running a central air unit on average costs $0.36 per hour. Do the math!
3. Plant big shade trees around your house
This obviously won’t help your utility bills in the short term, but over time can make a big difference. By reducing the amount of sunlight that comes through your windows, you can decrease the need to lower your thermostat.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, planting trees to shade your home can increase your AC unit’s efficiency by up to 10 percent. Some of the best, fastest-growing shade trees are red maple trees and river birch trees.
4. Install a smart thermostat
If you haven’t upgraded to a smart thermostat, like a Nest thermostat, it might be a good time to get one. Smart thermostats allow you to give your AC a break while you’re away from home, therefore saving you money. You can adjust the settings on many smart thermostats remotely, using an app on your phone or via voice commands if you have smart home devices.
5. Thermostat placement
If you’re already thinking about replacing your older thermostat with a smart thermostat, you might as well make sure the thermostat is located on the right wall in your home. Thermostat placement can play a huge role in how your HVAC system works throughout the day. If the thermostat sits on a wall next to a hot window, your air conditioner is likely to kick on more frequently because it will think the room is hotter than it really is.
The best spot for a home thermostat is a centralized wall that isn’t near any windows or vents.
6. Think about your basement
Cold air is heavier than warm air. Cold air will work its way down until it reaches the lowest level of your home and can’t go any further. So if you have a basement, why not spend more time down there in the heat of the day. This will allow you to reduce the run on your AC by staying in a place in your home that is naturally cooler.
Also, think about closing any vents to the basement. Since the basement is naturally cooler anyway, you don’t need to keep air vents or dampers in your basement open to accept the colder air your AC unit is producing.
For more information on heating and air tips for your basement, check out HVAC Options to Consider When Finishing Your Basement.
7. Seal off any leaks
A drafty home isn’t an energy-efficient one. Cracks and openings from windows and doors allow air to come and go in and out of your home as it pleases. While doors and windows tend to be the most obvious places to check, your home’s foundation where brick and siding meet can also be prone to leaks.
The best plan to identify air leaks in your home is to hire a technician to perform an energy audit. These audits will inspect your entire home and identify any energy inefficiencies your home may be experiencing.
8. Evaluate your home’s insulation
Fixing an insulation problem could save you money on heating as well as air conditioning. According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), 90 percent of single-family homes in the United States are under-insulated. A well-insulated home is a great way to help keep energy costs manageable and is better for the environment too.
For many homeowners, upgrading their home’s attic insulation is well worth the investment. This home improvement measure will not only reduce energy bills and improve the value of your home, but it can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
9. Avoid using the oven and stove top
When the temperatures outside soar, try not to cook on your stove or use your oven. These cooking appliances increase indoor temperatures and can turn a hot kitchen into a hotter house. Instead, fire up the grill outside or cook food in the microwave on really hot days. And don’t forget to use your kitchen exhaust fan after cooking if you have one.
10. Close the blinds and curtains
There’s nothing better than looking out your windows at a beautiful blue sky. But don’t forget that windows can let in hot rays from the sun and increase indoor temperatures. During the warmest parts of the day, close any blinds and curtains to help keep the sun’s rays from coming through your windows. It can also help to insulate your windows, keeping the cold air your air conditioner is producing from escaping outdoors.
You can shave dollars off your monthly bills without sacrificing comfort as long as you know where to make cuts. If these tricks 10 still aren’t helping, you may need to have your air conditioner inspected by a professional HVAC technician.
Call Hauser Air at 513-777-7979 or 937-368-7979 or contact us online to set up an appointment with one of our Indoor Air Quality Specialists. We can evaluate your current HVAC system, and get you saving money on your utility bills.