Are you dreading the heat of summer? Relax while you consider these ingenious solutions to keep your house comfortable without putting a freeze on your bank account.
Keep furniture clear
Your AC unit needs freedom to blast out air unobstructed by a sofa, drapes, or other thing covering it up or preventing it from doing its best job. Check every room. None of your furniture should be blocking that flow of air. This means you may need to move the sofa and rearrange the bedroom the get the air circulating well.
If you just can’t upset your furniture arrangements, you can purchase heat and air deflectors for the vents to adjust the airflow direction around furniture for the season. Available online or at your local home improvement centers like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Apply heat reducing film
With roughly 30% of ambient heat coming into your home through the windows, one quick and easy fix to keep your home cool is to apply a reflective, heat-reducing window film to regulate the temperature. As a bonus, it even works in reverse, keeping more warm air inside during the winter months—and it’s quick and easy to install!
Cover the windows
Leaving blinds and drapes open when the sun’s rays are beating through the windows will turn your home into a sizzling greenhouse. Cut back on direct sunlight by closing all the blinds or other window coverings and you’ll naturally reduce the heat within your home.
Drapes, blinds, and shades are all very effective in reflecting the heat of the sun. Opt for those that are white and they’ll do an even better job. But they won’t do a lot of good unless you draw and lower the window coverings early in the morning before the house can heat up.
Turn AC off at night
Allowing an AC it to run 24 hours a day is a surefire way to make your electricity bill soar. You can lighten the load by turning the unit off at night. Prepare by lowering it an hour or two before bedtime. Because nighttime temperatures usually drop in most areas, opening the windows will allow those cooler night temperatures to keep things comfortable
Keep the AC working at its best
During the summer, make sure your AC unit, whether it’s a window unit or forced air, working at 100% efficiency so it doesn’t have to work so hard. It will guzzle less energy when the filter is super clean. Not only will filthy filters decrease your unit’s ability to work its magic, they will also eat up far more energy than necessary while pumping out dirty air.
Determine your optimal temperature
Experiment with fine-tuning the exact temperature to establish as your default. Start at say 77 degrees, then shift by one degree up or down until you’re satisfied. Then test to see if you can tolerate 78. Every subsequent degree which you accept will yield savings on your electric bill.
When you’re gone, turn it off
When you leave your house, turn off the AC. There’s no use keeping an empty house cold. Or if you prefer, turning the dial to 85 degrees will drastically reduce its electrical consumption. This tactic also prevents your AC from battling to regain your desired temperature on those super hot days. As a bonus, allow the system to take a break will prolong it’s useful life. Once you come home, just power the AC back on.
Preprogram the thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a relatively inexpensive device that you can install yourself and will more than pay for itself in a single summer. Now you won’t have to keep remembering to turn the setting up or down, depending on if you are home. Simply program it to fit your lifestyle and you won’t waste money cooling the house when no one is home.
It’s easy to customize the thermostat to follow your lifestyle. For example, you can program the AC to shut off at night, turn on before breakfast, turn it down again when you leave for work, adjust itself before you return. A programmable thermostat lets you set it and forget it.
Augment with fans
Give your AC a boost with a room fan. Ceiling fans are great to circulate cooled air but a trusty portable fan also works wonders. Fans increase general air circulation, preventing air from stagnating and accumulating unwanted heat. Combined with an AC unit, fans offer cooperative cooling.
It costs about $4 a month to run a high-efficiency ceiling fan on high speed for 12 hours a day (assuming a cost of $0.139 per kWh, which is the U.S. average ). The result is your home will feel about 7 degrees cooler simply because the air is circulating effectively. And that means your air conditioner will not have to work as hard to keep things comfortable.
Limit stove use
Limiting the use of your stove will give the AC a break from needing to work overtime. On exceptionally hot days stick to using the microwave oven, slow cooker, Instant Pot. Or use your outdoor grill.
Though the payback on this may take a few seasons, planting shade trees and foliage around your homewill help stop heat from seeping in through the windows and roof. And the results are beautiful, too!
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