The summer sun is blazing and you’re already dreading your next electric bill. Other than turning off the air conditioning and suffering through the heat wave, what options do you have? Read on for a few home improvement tips to help you get the most efficient use out of your air conditioner.
- Shut off unnecessary lights. When it comes to electricity, Americans aren’t nearly as vigilant as many other countries about shutting off lights. We wander from room-to-room in our homes, leaving a trail of lights blazing behind us. By training yourself and your family members to stop wasting electricity by turning off lights, TVs and radios when your’re done, you may just save a few bucks.
- Close your curtains. When the sun is blazing into a room, pull the curtains or blinds to keep the sun from super-heating the room. It does make a difference and helps to keep the room temperature down, which will help to reduce the amount of time your air conditioner has to run.
- Use fans. Ceiling fans especially help to circulate the cooler air throughout the room.
- Be creative with your meals. Try plugging in your Crockpot and cooking your meal out in the garage, rather than heating up your kitchen with the oven. Outdoor grilling is another viable option.
- Raise your thermostat a degree or two. For every one degree you raise your thermostat, you save 2 to 3 percent on the cooling portion of your bill. If you leave for out of town, set the thermostat to about 85 degrees.
- Use landscaping to help you. Air conditioners work more efficiently when trees or shrubs shade them. But be careful that they’re not so close to the unit that they’re interfering with air flow, or you’ll be needing the services of an air conditioning repair person sooner than you planned. Plant deciduous trees on the west and south sides of your house, because they’ll provide shade for your home during the hottest times of the day. Since they lose their leaves in the fall, your home will be able to receive the sun in the winter when it needs it to help it retain heat.
- Practice preventive maintenance on your heating and cooling system. Be sure you have your heating and cooling system serviced regularly by your air conditioning contractor. This will keep all the parts and systems working at maximum efficiency and hopefully allow you to catch any problems before they become major breakdowns—not what you want to happen during the record-setting heat wave.
By following your tips, you’ll be able to keep your electric bill at a more reasonable rate and help your air conditioner to run as efficiently as possible.