Keep Your Cool Without Breaking the Bank
Summer often means soaring temperatures. No matter where you live in the U.S., the heat can get excessive. Are you prepared? Here are some great ways to keep the temperature cool without busting your budget.
- Set the temperature a little higher. Most people can be comfortable with a setting of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, plus you’ll save six percent to eight percent of your cooling costs for each degree above 78.
- Be sure your filters are clean. They should be checked monthly. Remember to check filters that may be in a unit located in the attic. Live in an apartment complex? Management often leaves the maintenance of your air filters up to you!
- Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is on, and turn off kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans when your air conditioning is operating.
- Caulk and weather-strip leaky windows and doors.
- Use a ceiling fan or portable fan to supplement your air conditioning. A fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler (and runs on a fraction of the energy your A/C uses) so you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on cooling costs.
- For central air conditioning systems, keep the fan switch on your thermostat in the “auto” position when cooling. This gives you better cooling and humidity control. Having the fan switch “on” continuously could cost $25-$50 extra a month on your electric bill.
- Use shades or drapes to block the hot sun from heating up your home. Use awnings, trees and shrubs to shade your home.
- Use your microwave or counter-top appliances for cooking instead of the oven or stove.
- If you suspect your air conditioning system is not cooling properly, have it checked promptly. A unit that is having operational problems can cause extremely high bills.
Make sure your home is properly insulated. In existing homes, wall insulation may be too expensive to install, so concentrate on attic and floor insulation. Check with your local utilities company—many offer free home energy inspections and can install extra insulation for you. Some will even spread out the cost over your monthly bills. The money you’ll save will pay for the expense in no time!