When you think “summer,” what do you imagine? Maybe you think about grilling out or heading to the beach. Maybe you also think about the hot, sunny days that are synonymous with the season. Of course, once the weather turns warm, it’s never too long until it’s time to turn on the air conditioner. While turning up the AC makes the heat bearable, it can also get expensive fast. Tired of paying extra on your electric bills? Here are some easy ways to cut your air conditioning costs.
1. Keep it maintained.
The first and easiest way to lower your air conditioning costs is to ensure your unit is properly maintained. This is a standard service offered by most HVAC companies, and should be done once per year. However, it’s possible to do it yourself if you don’t mind putting in a little elbow grease. Also make sure to change and clean your filters frequently.
2. Optimize the temperature for maximum savings.
Energy Star says that the best temperature to help you save on utility costs is 78° F. Set your thermostat for this temperature during the day and to 82° F at night and watch your utility bills melt. Of course, this might still be too hot for some. Try lowering the thermostat one degree at a time until you find a comfortable temperature.
3. Make sure your thermostat is in the right place.
If your thermostat is on a wall that gets lots of sun, your air conditioner is probably going to run more than it should. Try relocating your thermostat to a cooler wall so the air kicks on less frequently.
4. Make sure your doors and windows are sealed tight.
Check the caulk or weather stripping on your doors and windows. If you notice the seals are torn, damaged, or gapping, you’re probably letting out cool air without even knowing it. Luckily, resealing with new caulk or weather stripping is an easy, inexpensive solution that could save you 5-10% on your bill.
5. Check your vents.
This one might seem like common sense, but make sure your vents aren’t blocked. An obscured vent means you won’t feel your AC working no matter how low you turn the temperature. Additionally, you can also close vents in rooms you don’t use. This helps ensure your air conditioning isn’t working overtime to cool the whole house.
6. Skip the roast.
Cooking things in the oven heats up your home more than you think. Try using the slow cooker or grill instead.
7. Shade your house.
Blackout curtains don’t just keep your room dark for sleeping—they also help you save energy. When sunlight enters a room, as much as 76% of it turns into heat. This is another thing that can heat up your home without you even realizing. Installing blackout curtains helps keep the heat out and the cool air in. You can also try planting more trees on your property to better shade your home.