There are two constants for people during the summer: the temperature is going to rise, and they’ll be battling to keep air conditioning costs low. But with a little preparation and planning, anyone can cut down on their AC bill. Here are a dozen ways to do that — and save some money that can be used for summertime fun.
- Keep all that cool air indoors. Fix sections of your gutters and roof to close any holes or gaps through which the indoor air can escape.
- Whenever replacing roof shingles, opt for a pale gray color. These won’t attract as much heat as their darker-colored counterparts.
- Replace older doors and windows with more energy-efficient products, such as Heatshield low-E glass. Also, be sure that they are properly sealed.
- Make sure that blinds and shades are kept closed during the hottest parts of the day. Even energy-efficient windows will allow some heat to creep in.
- Look for potential drafts by placing a fireplace match or an incense stick next to windows, outlet covers, doors, and bath or kitchen vents. If you see the smoke being drawn out, use weatherstripping, apply caulk, or replace trim to solve the problem.
- On each door leading outside, put a door sweep on the bottom edge to keep cool air in and hot air out. A properly-installed door sweep grazes the existing threshold lightly.
- Open air-conditioning vents that are near the ceiling, and close those that are low on the wall. Because hot air rises, the warmer air will make its way toward your AC unit, where it will be cooled and cycled back through your home.
- For outdoor AC units, try to plant shrubs, bushes, or trees next to them to provide a bit more insulation. Just make sure the air flow isn’t impeded.
- On exceptionally hot days, wait to operate clothes dryers and dishwashers until the sun goes down so the energy generated doesn’t produce unwanted heat. For the same reason, refrain from using the oven if possible; instead, cook out on a grill or use a microwave oven.
- Change air conditioning filters monthly during the summer. Use ceiling fans whenever possible so the AC doesn’t have to work as hard.
- Ensure that your thermostat is not surrounded by electronics like computers, televisions, or stereos, and is also not being bombarded by direct sunlight. Excess heat may cause the thermostat to think the room is hotter than it actually is, and it will boost your AC output accordingly.
- Always set the thermostat to a higher temperature when you leave and turn it down when you return. Or invest in a programmable thermostat that can do that for you.