Summer is in full effect and that means much of the country is blasting their air conditioners more now than at any other time of the year. If you have an energy efficient AC then you’re in luck. But for the rest of us with older air conditioners we’ve got to make sure we don’t blow up our energy bill this month.
So what better time than now, in this bitter heat, to find ways to cut down the cost of cooling your home? The doctor recommends you follow these 11 cheap ways to stay cool this summer.
Get Your Air Conditioner Serviced
Just like a professional athlete needs to be in tip top shape before the season starts, your air conditioner needs to be firing on all cylinders before the summer season begins too.
Make sure your AC runs at its maximum capacity by having it serviced. The money you spend on the tune-up will quickly be offset by your savings by the time the summer heat is over.
Change The Filter In Your AC
Changing the air filter will help promote air flow so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard to blow the air through. This means that the air will cool quicker and thus your appliance won’t need to be on full blast as long. As an added bonus your appliance will last longer.
An air filter can cost you anywhere from 5 to 10 bucks and works wonders at trapping airborne particles such as dust, smoke bacteria and viruses. You should replace your air filter every summer so that when June rolls by, your system is ready to run efficiently.
Install Shutters Or Shades
One way to keep your house cooler in the summer is to keep the sun out of your house. Shutters and roll style shades can be installed quickly and help cut down on the heat generated but the sun. In the winter, you can open the shutters or roll shade to keep the house warm and in the summer you can keep them closed to keep the heat out.
Install Solar Screens
Your windows are a huge source of drafts and air transfer. Putting up solar screens or sun shade screens on the windows that face the sun can block heat and help keep your home cool. It costs just about $10 per screen if you do it yourself and by looking at how-to videos on YouTube.
Install Window Awnings
Installing window awnings above your warmest windows help block sun and can drastically cut down on solar heat gain. Depending on the style it may also improve the look and value of your home.
Install A Programmable Thermostat
You can drop your utility bill by hundreds of dollars just by using a programmable thermostat. Just set the temperature for the day and the night, then keep your hands off and let the thermostat do all the work.
The doctor recommends the Nest Thermostat by Nest. It was designed by some folks who left Apple and formed their own company. They also make a neat smoke alarm. Each of these products has an app so you can adjust/monitor your devices while at work.
Seal Your Air Ducts
If your home is cooled by forced-air, you can lose up to 20 percent of energy in holes, leaky joints and miscellaneous weak spots along the way. Seal up the holes and enjoy better energy efficiency and lower heat bills.
Seals Gaps Around Your Windows
Sealing gaps around windows and doors will certainly cut down on air loss, reducing your energy bill dramatically. Expect a savings of 10 to 20 percent by just caulking gaps and installing new weather stripping.
Put your hand up to the edges of your windows at night to see if cold air is coming in. If it is, that means the expensive cool air you’re pumping in is also flowing out during the day.
Insulate The Attic
Just when you think you’ve done everything you can to reduce the loss of heat in your home, there’s another issue that’s causing trouble. It’s so obvious but you can’t even see it. It’s not quite under your nose, but rather over your head. It’s in the attic.
Your attic is the single largest source of heat loss in your home. Adding insulation and sealing holes will save you a small fortune on your energy bills by reducing the heat output required to keep your home comfortable in the summertime.
Use The Barbecue More
If you live in a warm climate, keep your home and your kitchen cool by cooking outdoors. The more you cook outdoors instead of in the kitchen, the more it will reduce the temperature in your house. Thus it reduces the amount of energy needed to cool the air that was warmed by your stove, dropping your energy bill and saving you cold hard cash.
Run Your Appliances At Night
Whether you have to wash laundry, use the dishwasher, bake a cake, iron clothes or turn on another appliance, try to do it at night. These appliances sure do help, but they sure emit heat as well, meaning you need to crank the AC up to keep your house cool.
How do you manage to stay cool on those warm summer days? The sweaty doctor would like to know.