The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 43 percent of your monthly utility bills are attributed to your heating and air conditioning. Crazy, right? However, when it comes to 98 percent humidity and a temperature of what feels like a thousand degrees, you're probably willing to pay anything for respite from the weather.
Here is a list of things you can do inside your home to use your air conditioner wisely and efficiently:
- Use some restraint with your thermostat. It may feel nice to walk into a deep freezer, but to keep your energy bill under control, program your thermostat to a reasonable temperature. Set your temperature as high as you can comfortably tolerate it and watch those savings add up.
- Close doors and vents. Don't cool rooms that you're not using. There's no sense in making sure your furnishings are lounging around in a chilled room.
- Save the baking and intense cooking sessions for winter. Heating up your oven or cooking a huge pot of soup on the stove can raise the temperature in your kitchen several degrees and make your air conditioner work harder. Opt for sandwiches and salads instead.
- Use a fan. It may be a novel idea, but it can also be effective. Using a fan in your home can help circulate the cool air around, saving your air conditioner some work. It can also provide a nice cool breeze, which can be a refreshing, little treat.
- Hit the shower or the tub. Air conditioning doesn't have to be your only method of cooling off. Take a nice, cool bath or shower to lower your internal temperature. You'll feel cooler and your air conditioner won't have the weight of the world on its shoulders.
Use these ideas to get you started, but then start thinking of other ways to give your over-worked air conditioner a hand. Not only will you be cooler, but you'll be excited when you see the savings on your next utility bill and then you'll really feel cool.
How Preparation and Prevention Can Help You Save on Your Air Conditioning Costs
Taking a few preventative steps and focusing on maintenance can ensure that your air conditioner is in tip-top shape. Follow these steps to see a real difference in your energy costs:
- Do an annual tune-up. Clean your evaporator and condenser coils and check the level of refrigerant. Or simply call a professional to do it for you. You'll still save money even if you pay a pro (from Travers Plumbing & Heating Inc or another company) to do a checkup once a year.
- Get an energy audit. Call your local electricity provider to schedule an energy audit, which is often offered for free or at low cost. Some companies even offer low cost loans to make repairs and do upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
In addition to tune-ups and energy audits, you can also take the following steps to make sure your air conditioner is performing optimally:
- Clean your air filters
- Plant more trees and foliage around your home for shade from the hot sun.
- Consider using small, single room units as opposed to a central air system.
- Take advantage of cool nights by opening windows.
- Close windows and shades in the morning to keep heat out.
Air conditioning can seem like a life saver when the weather gets unbearable. Make sure your energy bills don't make you regret all that comfortable living by taking steps to get the most out of your air conditioner and saving money on cooling whenever possible. Call your electric company today to get an energy audit and learn even more ways to keep your utility bills as low as possible.