If you got a little lump in your throat when you saw your first energy bill of the summer, then this article is for you. Employing a few conservation tips can help to bring that monthly energy bill down, and reduce your carbon footprint, all while staying comfortable throughout the summer months.
Skip the Air Conditioner
You can keep your home relatively cool without the help of an air conditioner, even as the temperatures climb. Whole-house fans, which draw the warm air from your home and exhaust it through the attic vents, can keep your home cool without AC. Placing fans in open windows can greatly increase circulation as well. It’s best to run fans overnight and during the morning and evening hours, when the air outside is cool. Turn them off during the hot part of the day and close the windows to keep the cool air in and the warm air out.
Check Your Settings
If the day is getting warm and the fans just aren’t cutting it, it’s probably time to turn on the air conditioner. You may be tempted to set the thermostat very low to cool down the house quickly, but resist the urge. This won’t help the house to cool down any faster, and will actually cause expensive over-cooling. Set the thermostat to the highest temperature that will keep you comfortable. Use the “auto” setting to ensure that the fan turns off at the same time as the compressor does to save some extra energy.
There are a couple of practices to avoid that decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner. Don’t use the “fan” setting on your air conditioner to increase air circulation when you’re not using the AC. The fan uses a lot of energy when compared to individual room fans that can be placed in the windows. Place additional fans in the path of the window air conditioning unit. This helps the cool air to circulate more fully. Don’t use heat-creating electronics like TVs or lamps near the thermostat, as this can cause the air conditioning to kick on more often than is necessary.
If you’re employing all your best conservation efforts and your energy bill is still too high, you may need to replace your air conditioner. Older units are much less efficient than newer, Energy Star certified ones. You also may need to have a professional come out to determine if you’re using the right size of air conditioner for your home.