Cutting the Cost of Air Conditioning
Air conditioning can be a lifesaver on hot summer days. Literally. Extremely hot weather can be a very serious health concern, especially as we get older. But the cost of keeping a home cool can be steep. We’ve collected some tips that can help keep the cost of air conditioning down.
A few helpful suggestions…
- Cool only where you actually live. Most people tend to spend more time in certain areas of their homes. It isn’t necessary to keep unused rooms as cool as those you use on a regular basis. If you have central air conditioning, close the ducts in rooms you aren’t using. If you have window air conditioners, keep doors to unused rooms closed so cool air isn’t wasted.
- Cool only when you need it. There’s no need to keep the air cool when you aren’t there to enjoy it. Lower your A/C temperature setting when you are not going to be at home during daytime hours If you won’t be gone long, don’t lower it too much because it can be a strain for an A/C unit to fight to bring the temperature down again. Also lower the temperature setting at night when the air outside cools down.
- Use ceiling fans. A ceiling fan won’t lower the temperature in a room, but it will move air around and that can make you feel more comfortable. On hot days, use ceiling fans along with air conditioning… but only while you’re in a room. Turn the fan off whenever the room is unoccupied to save energy costs.
- Move all obstructions. Make sure your A/C vents and/or window air conditioners are blowing cool air into open areas. All furniture, window shades, and draperies should be out of the way.
- Turn off unnecessary gadgets. Most of the gadgets we use on a daily basis to make life easier also generate heat. When you aren’t using them, turn off things like computers, printers, DVD players, game systems, etc.
- Use home appliances wisely. If possible, use appliances like your washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher at night when temperatures are cooler. When cooking during daylight hours, use your outdoor grill instead of your oven or microwave whenever possible.
- Don’t let the light shine. Lights produce heat. The more lights you have on in your home, the harder your air conditioner will have to work to cool down the air. Turn on lights only when you really need them and make sure to remember to turn them off when they are not needed.
- Keep heat outside. Try not to open your doors too often. Make one trip outside instead of multiple trips. For example, if you’re heading out to walk your dog or visit a neighbor, pick up your mail from the mailbox during the same trip instead of heading out again later. Also keep your window shades or drapes closed when windows are in direct sunlight and during the hottest times of the day.
- Remember your filters. A dirty filter will reduce the efficiency of central air conditioning and window air conditioners. It can even cause damage. Make sure filters are the correct size and replace them on a regular basis.
- Look into ductless mini-split units. Ductless air conditioning/heating units are placed only in the areas of your home you want to cool (or heat). They’re usually mounted up high on the wall and require only a small hole in the wall to allow the unit to be connected to an outdoor condenser. They are quiet and energy efficient. Their purchase price can be a bit hefty, but they may lower your monthly bills significantly.