Keeping your home comfortable in winter and summer is expensive. U.S. Dept. of Energy statistics show that heating and air conditioning account for a whopping 43% of your utility bill each month. Here’s how to cut your air conditioning costs during the summer.
Shade Your House
It’s no surprise that the bulk of your home’s summertime heating is a result of the sun beating down on your roof and shining through your windows. Surrounding your home with leafy trees will help reduce the amount of heat-producing sunlight that reaches your home. You can also increase your air conditioner’s efficiency by as much as 10% by making sure it is shaded as well.
By investing in solar screens for your windows, you can reduce the amount of solar energy entering your home by as much as 70%. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends using solar screens on east and west facing windows for best results.
Another energy saving option to consider are window films. Window films are metalized yet transparent sheets that reflect solar heat before it enters your home.
One disadvantage of window film is windows must be shut for the film to work properly. It’s not an issue if you never open your windows, but for those who like a little fresh air every now and then, solar screens are the better option. Not only do they keep out the suns rays, they keep out insects too.
Increase Your Thermostat When You’re Not Home
When you’re home, try to keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees. At night or when you’re away however, you should increase it to a warmer temperature. By using this one simple step, you can save up to 15% each month on your air conditioning costs per the Department of Energy.
Proper air circulation is the key to success when using fans. If you have a two story home, fans should be located upstairs and the windows downstairs should be opened. In one story dwellings, keep the windows near your fan closed while opening windows in rooms farthest from the fan.
Avoid Oven Use
You probably can’t avoid using it altogether, but you should make an effort to use your oven as little as possible during the summer. Use your microwave instead, or eat foods that don’t require heat preparation, such as salads and sandwiches. If you absolutely must use your stove, put it off until the evening if you can. Be sure to use the kitchen exhaust fan while cooking, as this will pull much of the heat from your stove out of your home.
Get A New AC
If your AC unit is several years old, it could be costing you more money than it should. By investing in a newer model, you could lower your energy costs by up to 50 percent. Make sure it is a high energy efficiency AC. The higher the efficiency rating, the more energy you will save.
Lower Air Conditioner Speed
On most days, you should keep your AC fan speed set to high. However, on very humid days, you should keep the fan set to low. Setting the fan to low reduces the speed of air movement through the air conditioner. This slower air speed removes more moisture from the air, resulting in a lower humidity level in your home. A lower humidity level makes your home much more comfortable.