Staying Cool For Less
How To Save Money And Energy This Summer
By Stephen Clayton
If you live in a region where the intensity of summer heat results in alarming energy bills, you may be one of the many who dreads the end of Spring. However, you can keep your home cool without running an air conditioner day and night. In this article, you'll learn how to stay comfortable in the summer while saving energy and money. Read on for some very cool cooling tips.
1. Set your thermostat just one degree higher.
Every degree that you raise your thermostat will save you approximately 2-3 percent on your cooling bill. A fan in the room or an open window can make it feel colder and will cost less to run than an air conditioner.
2. Don't pay to cool an empty house.
If you're leaving home for a long day or a weekend away, don't pay to keep an empty house cool. Save money by setting your thermostat high or turning it off completely. Keep your home just cool enough to remove some of the most intense humidity.
3. Close the vents or registers in unused rooms.
Stopping the flow of cooled air to an unused room can save you anywhere from 5-10 percent on your cooling costs.
4. Stop the sun.
Shades and blinds will block out the sun and are extremely effective at keeping a room from heating up like an oven. Like windowless desert abodes, a dark room can stay very cool on a hot day.
5. Use a window fan at night.
Fans cost less to run than air conditioner, so take advantage of the cooler night air and turn off your air conditioner. Instead, open a few windows and run a fan for a nice cross-breeze. You'll actually be surprised how many mornings you wake up with a comfortable chill.
6. Turn off heat-throwing appliances.
Light fixtures and heat-throwing appliances can cause your home to heat up fast and also throw off your thermostat's readings. Move hot appliances away from your thermostat and say goodbye to hot halogen lamps. Cut back on baking and other food preparation that involves an over. You might alternatively consider more outback cookouts on the grill to compensate for less use of the oven.
7. Close your electrostatic filters.
If your cooling system utilizes an electronic air filter, washing the filter every month is critical for maximum efficiency. Use cold water and a soft brush, or you can run the filter through a gentle cycle in your dishwasher. Once the filters are clean and dry, you can replace them.
8. Close your basement registers.
Typically, basements are already dark and cool, so there's no need to waste energy pumping them full of conditioned air. Closing your basement's vents or registers will make more cool air available to the rest of the house, lessening the load on your air conditioner and saving you money.
9. Clean your air conditioner's condenser.
The condenser on your air conditioner is the big unit that sits outside your house. To run at maximum efficiency, it needs to be properly cleaned and maintained. Start by shutting off power to the unit. Once the power has been cut, remove the access panels on the front of the unit. Then clean out any accumulated debris such as leaves, garbage or dirt. Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to wash down the coils and fan. Finally, turn the fan to make sure it's operating smoothly. When you're done, replace the access panels.
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