Soaring summer temperatures mean higher electric bills for many homeowners. A well-insulated home with an efficient air conditioning system is the best way to keep your energy bill down, but you don’t need to make major upgrades to enjoy savings. Here are five simple ways you can minimize your cooling bill this summer.
- Keep your AC flowing free. Your air conditioner needs some occasional TLC to keep running at peak performance. Old air filters, blocked vents and dirty evaporator and condenser coils can all make your system work harder than needed. Clean or replace your filters once a month (to save as much as 5 percent to 10 percent on energy), keep vents free of dust and obstructions, clean your air conditioner components at least once a year and trim back foliage to at least two feet from outdoor equipment.
- Shut out the sun. A sun-filled home is a lovely sight, but it can make for a scary electric bill on hot days. Keeping the sun out with proper curtains, blinds or shades can save as much as 45 percent in cooling costs. Insulated window treatments that are light-colored or reflective and hang close to the glass will have the best effect.
- Don’t help the heat. It’s hard enough to beat the sun’s heat without contributing any of your own. Whenever it’s hotter outside than in, consider delaying or avoiding activities that generate heat. Cooking, appliance use (especially dishwashers and clothes dryers) and bathing are some prime culprits. Consider putting off these chores until after dark when temperatures fall. Exhaust fans can also help to vent the heat from these sources.
- Become a fan of fans. Ceiling and circulating fans can make your home feel as much as 8 degrees cooler and save up to 40 percent on air conditioning bills. Make sure your ceiling fans are set to summer mode – rotating counterclockwise to blow downward – and turn off any fans when not in use.
- Roll back your thermostat. If you can stand the heat, turning your thermostat up a few degrees is a guaranteed way to save. A programmable or smart thermostat can help further by adjusting the temperature when you’re away or asleep. These strategies can shave as much as 10 to 20 percent off your bills.
For more energy-saving tips, check out this page from energy.gov. Stay cool out there!