10 Ways to Lower Cooling Bill This Summer

The worst time of the year for our electric bill is in the summer. With heat indexes into the 90’s and 100’s, it is hard to stay cool and save money. I have found some things that do help to cut costs, though. Here are some ideas if you too are looking to cut back on your energy consumption this summer.

1) Raise the temperature a degree or two. It may take a few days to get used to this, but it will save you money on your bill. For each degree below 78, your energy use will increase by 3-4%.

2) Don’t cool unused rooms. If you can, get a portable air conditioning unit and use it in the main room of you house. Close off any rooms you are not using. A portable or window air conditioning unit will save mush more energy than a central unit. If you have a central unit, and do not want to invest in a portable unit, check with an a/c professional to see which registers, or vents, you can close without affecting the pressure in your system.

3) Clean or replace your AC filter every month. A dirty filter makes your AC work harder, which uses more electricity.

4) Use or install ceiling fans. Using a ceiling fan can make a room seem 10 degrees cooler. In the summer time, make sure the fan is blowing air down. You can find a switch on most all ceiling fans to change the direction the blades spin when the fan is on. In the winter, the blades need to spin so that the air is drawn up. In the summer, this needs to be reversed so that the air blows down and you feel cooler.

5) Use drapes to block out the sunlight. Direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room by 10-20 degrees. The less heat gets into your home, the less you have to pay to remove it. Drapes block sunlight and heat better than blinds, but even blinds work better than nothing!

6) Plant shade trees outside. Trees positioned correctly so that they shade your home from direct sunlight can lower your energy consumption by up to 40%.

7) Keep cold air inside and hot air out. Sounds like a no-brainer, but by keeping doors and windows shut and making sure they are properly sealed, you will save energy and thus lower your bill. Make sure to close the fireplace damper to keep cool air from escaping through your fireplace as well!

8) Turn the air conditioner off when you leave. Contrary to popular belief, it does not cost more to cool a house down when the air has been off than it does to keep it on all day. There are no appliances that save you money by keeping them running. If they are off, they will always save you energy…and money!

9) Keep the outside condenser unit out of direct sunlight. A unit kept in the shade will save you about 10% more than one in the sunlight.

10) Reduce heat from lighting and cooking. Lights create heat which must then be cooled. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy and lower the amount of heat created in your home. Cooking also creates extra heat. Save energy by using the microwave, or go outside for a summer time BBQ!

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