Here are a few simple ways to keep cool without breaking the bank.
It may be the season of beach towels and poolside relaxation, but beating the heat indoors is a little more complicated. Summer cooling costs can cut into your spending money for the remainder of the year. Luckily, each degree you raise the thermostat saves 7-10 percent on your cooling costs. So every little bit helps.
1. Keep the windows closed and covered during the day.
If your home has a lot of windows that allow light and warmth in, you’re in luck throughout the winter months. However, during the summer heat, it’s a good idea to block the heat and sunlight by closing the windows and the window treatments, especially if you’re not home during the day. Do you have exterior shutters? Close those too.
2. Open the windows at night.
In many regions, temperatures drop significantly in the evening and continue to drop throughout the night. If this is the case for you, it’s a great opportunity to open the windows and let nature provide a little free air conditioning.
3. Use a ceiling fan.
The ceiling fan is useful all year in keeping your home ventilated and circulating air, but is especially helpful on summer evenings when the air may be cool but still. In summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise. This provides a breeze which can make the room feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
4. Don’t use heat generating appliances.
Refrain from doing the laundry, cooking anything in the oven or over the stove on the very warm days. If that’s impossible or there are too many hot days, use spot ventilation. The laundry room fan or hood fan can help cool off the area without the need for a centralized A/C unit.
5. Run the A/C less.
If the above tips work for you, you may be able to limit your A/C use to extreme situations or temperatures. If you still need the A/C daily, run it only when you’re home and the temperature becomes unbearable.
6. Switch to a smart thermostat.
Most modern heating and cooling units have programmable thermostats. If yours doesn’t, consider purchasing one — they are reasonably priced and your landlord might consider deducting the cost from your rent as a valuable property enhancement. Smart thermostats enable the user to increase or decrease the temperature remotely, and some will even learn your habits and adjust accordingly. According to Energy.gov, these little miracles can save you 5-15 percent on annual heating and cooling bills.
7. Get an energy use inspection.
Most power companies will come to your home and conduct a free energy inspection, even if you rent. They’ll tell you where your money is going and recommend ways to cut your bills and reduce your environmental impact.
Since heating and cooling accounts for 40 percent of most homes’ energy expenses, when looking at ways to save energy in your home, tackle HVAC issues first for the biggest overall savings.