According to the calendar, summer is almost over. According to temperatures across the country, we’ve still got a ways to go. If you’re spending more time at home than ever before, it’s important to keep your air conditioning usage from burning a hole in your wallet. Try these five energy-saving tips that could chill your home and your bills until fall.
1. Fans are your friend.
Whether they’re connected to your ceiling or plugged into a wall outlet, fans are the key to maximizing the effectiveness of your AC unit. Like water in a stream, keeping the air flowing throughout your house will make it harder for heat to make itself at home. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they’re rotating counterclockwise to force the air downward. If you have some plug-in fans lying around, position them as low to the ground as possible to circulate the cool air resting near the floor.
2. Stick to a schedule.
Trusting your gut when it comes to setting your thermostat could leave you with a bloated energy bill. Try precooling your home before the heat of the day so your HVAC system won’t have to work so hard when the sun is at its peak. Whether you have a classic turn-dial unit or a smart thermostat that can adjust the temperature for you, try to run your air conditioning as little as possible between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m.
3. Seal and save.
Like a pesky insect, heat can sneak into your home through the cracks in your doors and window frames. Don’t let it! Get a roll or two of weatherstripping tape from your local hardware store, and you can keep the AC in and the heatwave out in a matter of minutes. And, if you’re looking for a longer-lasting fix, caulking around the perimeter of your windows and installing a door sweep at all of your entrances should do the trick.
4. Stay shady.
Natural lighting is lovely, but in the summer, it can make your house as hot as a sauna. If you don’t have the money or expertise to add specially coated windows to your rooms, installing some simple blinds, shades, or curtains should do the trick. Blocking out the sunlight and utilizing energy-efficient lightbulbs throughout the day will be much friendlier on your room temperature and your wallet.
5. Check for incentives.
Some cities are encouraging residents to reduce their energy consumption through rebates and other incentives. These range from cash rebates for giving your local power company permission to adjust your smart thermostats as needed, to tax credits for energy-efficient renovations like re-insulating your home and adding solar panels to your roof.