Ah, summer. Everyone looks forward to it – especially in the middle of a winter like the one we’re coming out of now – but along with warmer weather comes dealing with heat waves and humidity. Running your air conditioning 24 hours a day tends to be more expensive than heating your home (except if you use oil), so with that in mind, here are some tips to help get you ready for summertime to reduce your energy bills, reduce your impact on the environment, and keep some of your hard-earned money in your pocket where it belongs. Implement a few of these and you may not find yourself wishing for winter to return anytime soon!
Pick up some cheap weatherstripping.
Rolls of weatherstripping at the local hardware store are very inexpensive and can do wonders for keeping that cold air in the house, where it belongs. Put it around doors and “loose” windows where air can escape, and keep in mind that the work you do now will help to keep the heat in come winter, too.
Get your AC unit(s) serviced.
Call a professional to have your air conditioners cleaned out and new filters installed. If that’s too pricey, at least…
Change the AC filter(s) yourself.
These are available at most stores, just make sure you buy the right one for your machine.
Use those ceiling fans.
They aren’t just there for decoration; they are there to help cool down the house and move the air around.
Line dry your clothes.
Save on drying cost and reduce heat inside your house. Plus, clothes smell better when dried outside!
Cook with a toaster oven or microwave.
They use a fraction of the energy a full-size stove does and emit less heat.
Turn up your thermostat by even a few degrees.
You can save 1 – 3 percent on your utility bill for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees. 78 degrees is recommended by most energy experts, which could save quite a bit of money.
Run heavy appliances during off-peak hours.
Electricity is cheaper during off hours, so since you will be running AC more often, why not run other appliances during off hours to save a little dough?
Run dishwasher only when full.
Ok, so it may not have anything to do with keeping the house cool, but still – it’s a good practice.
Pull the shades and blinds.
During the day, make sure to block the sun from coming in the house on your solar-facing windows.
Investigate solar control window film.
It’s very inexpensive and it goes directly on your glass and reduces heat transfer.
Consider upgrading your air conditioning unit.
If your AC unit is old and needs replacing, look for ENERGY STAR rated air conditioners. A new ENERGY STAR model can reduce your cooling costs by 20 percent!
Got a pool?
Maybe think about reducing the daily cleaning (filtering) time a little bit if you have an automated system set up. As long as the water remains clean, you can keep reducing it a little each day to see how little time you can get away with running it.
Get a programmable thermostat.
Still haven’t invested in one? Make this summer the last time you use that old-fashioned manual thermostat. They aren’t that expensive, they are easy to operate, and they can cut your energy bills by quite a bit, both summer and winter.
Fire up the outdoor grill to cook, keeping the heat outside. Besides, burgers taste better at a cookout, don’t you think?
Wear less clothing.
We’re not talking about running a nudist colony at your house, but during the summer you wear more and put on more layers. Do the opposite in the summer so you can keep your thermostat set a degree or two higher, and make sure the clothing you do wear is lighter in color to reflect some of the sun’s rays.
Summer is just around the corner, are you ready for it? Take care of some of these tips now to get a jump-start on air conditioning season.