Every time you hear your air conditioning system turn on, your energy bill rises, and your wallet thins. Air conditioning and heating a home can consume up to 43 percent of your monthly utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Don’t let the outdoor heat determine your energy usage this summer. Here are eight great ways to reduce your energy bill while keeping your home as comfortable as possible.
As obvious as it may seem, most of the heat that builds up in your home enters directly from the sun peering in through the attic or windows. A great way to reduce the entering heat is to plant leafy trees around your home’s exterior to block the sun’s rays from intruding. As an added bonus, your home will increase in curb appeal! By utilizing trees and bushes around your home, you can potentially make your system approximately 10 percent more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Dress Your Windows
Since we have established that the sun’s heat is a major culprit to an increase in your system’s work output, why not fix the problem before it even starts? By adding solar screens, or mesh window screens, you can block up to 70 percent of solar energy before it even enters. Since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, those facing windows should be your main priority.
Set It But Don’t Forget It
Your thermostat is your communicator to the air system, so use it! Controlling and moderating your thermostat will save 5-15 percent on your bills. On average, 78 degrees is the ideal temperature when you’re at home, but don’t leave it there 24/7. At night or when you’re away, increase your thermostat to a warmer temperature to reduce energy.
Fans are a great way to give your air conditioning system a breather. Circulating the air inside your home is the key to reducing heat. Paul Scheckel, author of “The Home Energy Diet,” says that moving air helps evaporate the sweat from your skin. “Evaporational cooling is an incredibly efficient process for removing heat, and our bodies do it all by themselves. A little help can increase the cooling effect.”
Microwave It, Man
Baking and cooking on a stovetop is a big contributor to increasing your interior heat and humidity. If you must use these appliances, it’s best to operate them after the sun sets. Also, use your exhaust fans to your advantage in both the kitchen and bathroom. “Remove heat and moisture at the source, reducing humidity can help increase comfort.” Scheckel says.
Don’t Put it Off
Maintain and replace your A/C components regularly. Think about it – we are doing all of these steps to make your home more energy efficient, why wouldn’t we make our system efficient first? Replace your filters, clean your ducts, dust your vents, and give your system an annual maintenance checkup. If not, it WILL cost you in the long run.
You are the controller of the thermostat, you have the power! Living in Florida, we all know there are some days where the humidity has won, so use it to your advantage. Normally your A/C fan speed should be on high, but not on humid days. Set the speed to low on the unbearable days to slow the system down. The slower the air moves through the air conditioning equipment it will remove more moisture from the air, and in turn will make the home feel more comfortable.
This one’s a no brainer. If you’re feeling super hot in the house, but don’t want to lower the temperature, hop in the shower! Spraying yourself with a water bottle or a cool washcloth on the back of your neck will cool you down immediately and lower your body heat. Plus it is summertime so jump in the pool!
There is no reason why your bills should rise and fall with the temperature. By using a little elbow grease, your home and air conditioning system will be running smoother and more efficient. These eight DIY steps will help you all year long, and your bank account will thank you.