Beat the heat while keeping your budget in check with 10 tips to lower your cooling costs.
1. Adjust the Temperature up by a Few Degrees
Experiment to find the highest possible temperature that still allows you to be comfortable in your home. If you typically keep your home at 70°F, for example, try bumping the temperature up to 73° and see how you feel. You may not even notice a difference.
By setting your thermostat at a temperature a few degrees higher than usual, you take the strain off your air conditioner. It doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the indoor temperature making it much more efficient and cost-effective. In fact, according to Energy.gov, adjusting the thermostat temperature 7-10°F for 8 hours a day from its typical setting can cut your energy costs by 10% a year.
2. Limit Appliance Use
Appliances in the kitchen and laundry room produce a great deal of heat, which can raise the temperature in your home and cause the air conditioner to turn on more often. To save energy, try to use heat-producing appliances in the early morning and evening. Summer is also a great time to cook on an outdoor grill or warm things up in your microwave.
3. Install a Smart Thermostat
Thermostats have come a long way in the past decade. Smart thermostats, also called programmable thermostats, allow you to plan temperature changes throughout your day and night based on your family’s unique schedule. Some thermostats even include geofencing technology, which detects when your home is empty and adjusts the thermostat accordingly. Most programmable thermostats connect to Wi-Fi and are controlled via an app or voice assistant devices.
4. Put Your Thermostat in the Right Place
Place your thermostat in a hallway or any other well-shaded place. Thermostats near warm appliances or sunny windows will register that your home is much hotter than it actually is, which will trigger the air conditioning to turn on too often. Ensure that your AC isn’t turning on more than necessary by thoughtful thermostat placement.
5. Pay Attention to Your Windows and Doors
Sealing doors and windows from the heat in the summer and the winter cold is central to keeping your home comfortable. Close and lock your windows to create an airtight seal. Close your curtains and other window treatments at the hottest times of the day.
To prevent cool air from escaping, check around all your doors and windows for gaps. A little caulk can go a long way to decreasing your energy bill and increasing your overall comfort. Another culprit in high energy bills is insufficient insulation. A quick check of your attic will tell you if you need to install more insulation.
6. Shade is Your Air Conditioner’s Friend
Reduce the load on your air conditioner by using shade to your advantage. Pull curtains closed in rooms where the sunlight is harsh. You may even consider adding tinted window film to windows that get sun all day long. Planting trees and large hedges to shade your home can also be beneficial once they reach their mature height.
Finally, shade your outside AC unit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, planting shade trees around your outdoor unit can make it 10% more efficient, reducing your annual cooling costs and the wear and tear on the unit.
7. Adjust the Temperature at Night
We’ve been discussing how you can save on energy bills, but one time you might consider lowering the temperature by a few degrees is at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 65 degrees is the optimal setting for peaceful sleep. Other sources say between 60 and 68 degrees will help ensure your body cools down properly. Thankfully, outside temperatures drop as the sun goes down, so setting your thermostat back a few degrees at night generally won’t affect your energy bill.
8. Install a Ceiling Fan
The difference a ceiling fan makes in a room is truly remarkable. You can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort by turning on a fan. Just be sure to turn fans off when leaving a room. Fans cool people by creating a wind-chill effect. They do not cool rooms.
9. Remember, There’s No Such Thing As ‘Quick Cooling’ Your Home
When you come in from a super hot day and want to cool off quickly, it’s natural to want to set your thermostat to a low temperature. But don’t be tempted! It won’t cool your home any faster and could result in increased expenses. To cool off quickly, lay near a fan and apply a cold washcloth to your neck and forehead.
10. Keep Your AC in Prime Working Condition
Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to function at its best. The Stuart Pro Comfort Plan is designed to give homeowners peace of mind regarding maintenance, repair, or replacement of their home’s heating and cooling system. For less than $15 a month, our Comfort Plan provides you with two HVAC system checkups a year, priority scheduling of appointments, and discounts on parts, labor, service fees, and equipment.
Take the worry out of HVAC maintenance, and let us keep everything running smoothly for you. Give us a call anytime to talk about your options: 770-813-1316.