Who says there aren’t ways to keep your cool around the house this summer and not spend a fortune doing it?
There’s no question that the biggest energy guzzler during hot weather is your air conditioner, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and watch your energy bill skyrocket. Put your air conditioner in its place with a programmable thermostat, which ranks up there as one of the greatest inventions for the home. These gizmos can regulate indoor temperatures automatically, which can help make a noticeable difference in your utility bills.
When you’re away from your home this summer, you can program the thermostat to a higher temperature, and set it to return to a lower temp shortly before you return, so your house is cool and comfortable upon your arrival. The same approach can be handy when going to bed – you can use a higher temperature setting while you’re sleeping and a lower setting just before you wake up. The programmable thermostat can also help you save on heating costs during winter months!
The end result? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by dialing back your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours a day. That’s a hundred bucks back in your pocket if your annual energy costs are $1,000.
And the Department of Energy advises against setting your thermostat to a super-cold temperature when you turn on your AC. Doing so won’t help your home cool off any faster and will only lead to a higher energy bill.
Looking for other ideas you can put into practice to cut back on summertime energy bills? Try a few of these:
- Don’t use the oven or stove if possible – use the microwave or grill instead. The less buildup of unnecessary heat in the house, the less air conditioning you’ll have to use.
- Take advantage of nature’s thermostat by turning off the AC and opening windows on a breezy, cooler day.
- The air conditioner won’t have to work as hard if you have it placed in a cool spot, preferably away from the sun. You can also help to keep the AC unit cool by surrounding it with shallow-rooted plantings.
- Place fans near cooling vents to help circulate the air. Place box fans in windows to push out hot air or draw in cool air. And adjust ceiling fans so the blades run counter-clockwise, which will pull hot air up and out instead of swirling it around the room.
- Speaking of fans, did you know that you can use them as a makeshift air conditioner? Just position a shallow pan or bowl full of ice in front of a fan, flick on the switch, and enjoy the cool mist that comes off the ice’s surface as it melts. Ahhh, refreshing!
- And if you don’t currently have the luxury of central air conditioning in your home, you may want to consider getting a Mass Save® energy-efficiency loan from BankFive. Qualifying customers can receive no-interest financing to install energy-efficient cooling equipment in their homes.