Summer is wonderful – there are barbecues and beach days, baseball games and lazy evenings relaxing outdoors. But summer also means high energy costs and utility bills that can be tough on your budget. What’s more, air conditioners (AC) that run continuously can be stressful for your home’s wiring and potentially cause a fire; thereby ruining your home design and interior decor.
Fortunately, these tips can help you to save money, reduce the load on your home electrical system, and keep your cool all summer long:
Insulation upgrades – Adding to your house’s insulation keeps your cool air inside and hot air outside. It is possible to add additional insulation to most areas of your home; the most cost-efficient is typically laying more rolls on top of the insulation you already have in your attic. Adding insulation to walls is a little trickier, but there are ways to do it with minimal damage.
Attic ventilation – If you’ve ever gone into your attic when it is hot outside, you likely realize the amount of heat built up there. Temperatures in the 90’s outside can easily heat an attic to 140 degrees or higher, but a high-quality vent fan will disperse the heat back outside and cut moisture problems.
Air conditioner tune up – Some simple maintenance can ensure that your air conditioning unit is ready to cool your house when summer heat comes. Inside, inspect your filters and clean them or replace if necessary. Out in the yard behind your home, make sure there are no leaves or other gunk on your condensing unit and that it can breathe. Hose the unit off well, and consider calling a heating and air conditioning professional to give the unit a more thorough once-over.
Use a programmable thermostat – If no one is home during the day, you can set your AC at a higher temperature while you are away. The programmable thermostat can kick the temperature down an hour or so before you arrive home to a cool house. Likewise, setting it slightly higher for those times you are asleep without sacrificing comfort.
Consider zone air conditioning – Most people spend their home time in one or two rooms, and it can save you considerably if you raise the temperature on your central air conditioning unit and use a zone AC product. Technology has come a long way, and it is now possible to buy a portable air conditioner that can cool a fairly large room well. Cooking or working on the computer does not have to be such a hot prospect when you have a hand held air conditioner that cools down your personal space.
Ceiling fans – Installing ceiling fans can reduce your air conditioner use significantly. Their cooling might be plenty on some days, and they can enhance your air conditioner on warmer days, while allowing you to use less power. Be sure that you switch your ceiling fan’s direction for summer use; cooling position means your blades turn counter-clockwise.
Tend to your windows – Awnings over any windows that have lots of sun exposure can save you money, and faded furniture! Another idea is planting fast-growing, leafy shrubbery near windows to keep the heat out. Likewise, adding sun-blocking blinds, curtains, and even reflective window film can keep the sun and heat out of your house in the summer time.
Capture cool breezes – On moderately cool days, turn off your air conditioner, throw open your doors and windows and let the fresh breezes cool you off!
Fluorescent lighting – Not only does fluorescent lighting last longer than incandescent, it does not produce heat. Switch all your lamps and fixtures to compact fluorescent lighting to save money on air conditioning, too. Besides, with especially discrete home design, the lights can really show the place off.
No in and out privileges – Keeping the kids, and the dogs, from going in and out of the house any more than necessary is one of the keys to keeping your power bill low. Every time a door is opened, heat and humidity rush in, keeping your AC running in an attempt to keep up.
Don’t heat your thermostat – Keep all heat-producing devices well away from your air conditioners thermostat. Lamps, televisions, hot water heaters and clothes dryers can keep your air conditioner running continuously throughout your home.
Follow these tips before it gets really hot, and you will stay cool all summer!