Tomorrow marks the official arrival of summer, although if it’s been as hot where you are as it’s been in Kansas City, your air conditioner has already received quite the workout!
With air conditioners, fans and appliances working overtime in the summer heat, it can be easy to use extra energy around your home–and that means higher bills. We found a few tips to help you lower your energy costs during the summer, leaving you some cash for DIY projects, ice cream … maybe an Alaskan getaway?
1. TLC for your A/C. We’ve talked a lot about A/C maintenance on the site, but one of the easiest things you can do to keep your A/C working (without hogging energy) is to check and change your filters. If you’re using the unit heavily during the summer, experts recommend a monthly inspection of your filters. If it looks dirty, replace it.
2. Fire up the fans. It seems counterintuitive to use fans while the A/C is on — almost like you’d be using more energy, right? But the fans allow air to circulate, producing a cool breeze. You may be able to raise the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees without noticing any change in your comfort level. Be sure that your fans are rotating in a clockwise direction, which will help push air throughout your home. If you don’t have any ceiling fans, an oscillating fan can help produce a similar effect. Just set up a couple in the areas of your home that get the most use. We bought a three-speed, stand-mounted fan at Home Depot for $20, so you can certainly stock up on a few without draining your bank account.
3. Check your ducts. Take a quick walk around your home and check your heating and cooling ducts. They may need to be sealed and insulated in order to prevent air leaks, which will result in decreased energy consumption–and lower bills.
4. Look for the star. When it’s time to replace your HVAC unit, consider purchasing an EnergyStar model. This means it’s certified to run more efficiently and use less energy. You may find that EnergyStar equipment has a higher price tag than a standard model, but you’ll likely recoup the extra expense with lower energy bills and costs over a long-term period.
If you have other tips to help keep energy costs down during the summer, we’d love to hear them! And in the meantime, stay cool!