As the weather gets hotter and hotter air conditioning systems are being run more and more frequently, sometimes non-stop!
However, before long the first summer electricity bill will turn up and some may be shocked at just how much air conditioning has ramped up the cost. If you’re looking for how to save money on air conditioning you have come to the right place. Below we have compiled our top 20 ways of saving money on air conditioning with handy links where appropriate. So read on and let us know how you get on with putting them into practice. If you have any of your own tips for how to reduce air conditioning costs let us know in the comments below.
Saving Money on Air Conditioning
1. Improve Your Landscaping – Plant large, leafy trees and bushes around the exterior of your home to help shade your property, the less direct sunlight that’s hitting the building the better. You can find a more in depth guide from First Energy here.
2. Install Solar Screens – These screens can disrupt over 70% of solar energy before it enters your house. They are most effective on east and west facing windows. Here’s a handy YouTube guide on installing them from Quality Screen Co.
3. Set Your Thermostat On A Timer – You wouldn’t just burn a pile of money would you? So why would you leave your air conditioning running when there’s no one around to cool. If you have periods where your house is empty, for example the hours you are at work every day, most modern thermostats will allow you to set the AC to switch off during them. There are even smart thermostats that have arrived on the scene that allow your AC to track where you are and switch on when you’re near to home. More information on that on the Nest website here.
4. Increase The Thermostat Temperature When You’re Not Around – Many people don’t like the idea of switching their AC off out right. Maybe you have pets at home that need to be kept cool when you’re not around? If this is the case why not try switching the temperature on your thermostat up by a few degrees as you leave the house. This way your home will still benefit from a level of climate control but you can also save money on unnecessary cooling costs.
5. Encourage Air Circulation – By encouraging air circulation through your house you can increase your air conditioners efficiency. Thermal destratification is a great way of saving money on air conditioning but it doesn’t have to be quite so complicated. Simply place a few fans around your house and open a few windows slightly to encourage a constant flow of air through your home. This will help mix cooled and un-cooled air effectively. You can find an in depth guide on this here.
6. Dig Deep – If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a useable basement it could be the answer to all your prayers. As heat rises it would make sense that the lowest point in your house would also be the coolest. Plus, thanks to the insulating nature of earth, your basement will be exposed to less external heat. Hiding out in this cool room could be a great way to reduce air conditioning costs.
7. Hang Up Your Apron – As you know (we hope) cooking on a stove creates heat. This isn’t normally too much of an issue but when you’re struggling to stay cool that extra heat can be the straw that broke the camel’s back. To avoid creating extra warmth opt for microwaving everything or, even better, eat food that doesn’t require any cooking at all. A nice cold salad or fruit cocktail is refreshing and cooling! Check out these tasty salad recipes on Pinterest.
8. Make Sure Your AC Is Maintained – Another surefire way of burning money is running an improperly maintained air conditioning system. Ensuring filters and coils are clean, refrigerant is at optimum levels and that the machine is securely fitted are just a few things you can check. If you’re feeling technical you can give servicing your own air conditioning system a go by following this guide on How Stuff Works. If not contact your local air conditioning service/repair centre.
9. Replace Your Air Conditioning System – If your system is particularly aged and decrepit you may have no option other than replacing it entirely. Before you start reaching for your wallet with a tear in your eye it may not be as bad as you think. Although the initial outlay for a new AC system can be large the improvements in efficiency can pay for it within years.
10. If It’s Humid Slow It Down – On very humid days the effects of heat can be exacerbated. In situations like these you may feel a tendency to turn up your AC’s fan speed but don’t. In fact, the slower your AC fan moves, the more efficient your system is at removing moisture from the air.
11. Get Wet – If the heat is getting to you why not try taking a dip or having a splash rather than changing the temperature on your thermostat? Having a cold shower or jumping in a paddling pool can help cool your body extremely quickly. Also, don’t dry yourself off with a towel. Instead let the water evaporate off your body. Just like when you sweat the evaporative cooling will lower your temperature further.
12. Sleep Cool – So often it seems that the time you’re trying to sleep is when you notice the heat the most. Rather than trying to cool a whole room, or maybe even a whole house, why not try and cool just you and your bed? There are a couple of ways you can do this quickly and efficiently. Try utilising a Bedfan to cool just the air under the sheets. Combine that with a Chillow and you have a truly sub zero sleeping experience with no AC involved.
13. Don’t Forget About Cold Packs – Not just suited for school lunch boxes cold packs could well be the unsung heroes of reducing AC spending. Working on the principle of it’s cheaper to cool yourself than a whole house you can hug, sit on or even cover yourself in cold packs to lower your body temperature. The cost it takes to freeze these products is miniscule when compared to AC spending.
14. Insulate Your Home – The word insulation is normally only discussed when there’s frost on the ground and ice on the lakes. Think about it though, if insulation can trap in hot air during the winter it can also keep it out during the summer. An insulated house will retain conditioned air far more effectively than a non-insulated one resulting in your air conditioning unit having to do less work. You can find out more about different types of insulation by following the link to the Energy.Gov website.
15. Lighten Up – This may not be a tip you action immediately but next time you’re having your house painted think about going for a light shade. Light colours, white is the best, are far more effective at reflecting heat than their dark cousins. Why do you think there are so many white buildings in the sunnier parts of Europe? Why not go the whole hog and get your roof painted white too?
16. Draw Your Blinds – Just like solar screens on the outside of your window, blinds on the inside can help block sunlight and the heat associated with it. Direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room by anywhere between 10 – 20 degrees. The less heat that’s in your house the less you have to pay to remove it.
17. Switch Off – When the heat is really on it’s worth thinking about switching off everything you can. Your TV, computer, monitor and radio all create extra heat as do all your other electronic gadgets. Switching them off can certainly lower the temperature of any given room. Anyway, we think reading a book is far nicer on a hot day than staring at a screen.
18. Plug The Gaps – Another focus for more wintery weather conditions gaps and droughts can have a negative effect during the summer season too. Hot air can enter your home through these areas just like cold air can. Before the heat really kicks in make sure you locate all troublesome areas around your house and have them sealed off. This will certainly save you money in the long run. Find out how to diagnose and fix droughts and air leaks here on the Energy Saving Trust site.
19. Close Off Rooms That Aren’t Being Used – If there is a room in your property that you know you will hardly be using, such as a storage room, keep the door shut at all times and board up any air conditioning vents that are pointing into the room. This simply saves you wasting money on cooling air no one will appreciate.
20. Don’t Program Your Thermostat Too Low – Some people believe that turning your AC to a lower temperature than you require will result in it lowering the temperature of your property more quickly. This is an urban legend and isn’t based in any fact at all. In fact, turning your thermostat too low can result in you over cooling your house and wasting energy, something you’re trying to avoid.
There you have it, we hope our top 20 ways to reduce air conditioning costs has given you some actionable points to get going with. Remember, never lose your cool!
Written by Ryan Hill
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