Ten tips to reduce your heating and air conditioning bill
Everyone loves the summer time for the outdoor activities and the feeling of being rejuvenated after a long dreary winter. The sun, the heat, and the warm breeze can do so much for a person’s happiness. But what happens after you receive the power bill for the last month’s heatwave? All of a sudden, you are not so happy about the summer and are in a tailspin, because it was so costly to keep your home cool and comfortable. Don’t despair, though, because I am going to provide you with ten tips to reduce your air conditioning bill.
1 – The biggest mistake that people make when running their air conditioning is they turn the thermostat off and on. The unit is made to run at a natural pace, not stopping and starting at whim. Ideally, the thermostat should sit around 78F, give or take a few degrees depending on personal tastes. By turning the A/C off, it takes longer to cool a room, and thus, creates higher electricity costs. By leaving the temperature the same, and letting the thermostat control when the air conditioner kicks in, you actually save money over time.
2 – If you are away most days and not in the home, you may choose to run the air conditioner at a higher degree than if you were there throughout the day. Some people must leave on the A/C while gone, as they have pets in the home, but even then, one or two degrees higher might be acceptable.
3 – Be sure to change your furnace filter on a regular basis. Dust and dirt clogs up the filter and this leads to both the furnace and A/C working harder.
4 – Upgrade an old central air unit to a newer, more modern model, which meets the Energy Star guidelines.
5 – When choosing a portable or window unit, do not be tempted to buy the biggest one available. This does not provide you any more cooling power, and will dramatically increase your power costs. The size of the home being cooled is directly related to the power of the A/C unit. As an example, if the bedroom you plan to cool is less than two-hundred square feet, then a 5,000 to 6,000 BTU unit will suffice. Buying a 12,000 BTU is just a waste of power.
6 – Some states are offering major tax credits and upfront rebates for individuals who either upgrade existing units or buy new units. To determine whether you qualify, please check your resident state website. There could be a significant savings waiting for you.
7 – Be picky about the times that you do hobbies and chores around the home. For example, if it is particularly hot outside, you do not want to be cooking or baking with the oven on. Likewise, it might not be a good idea to do the laundry, running both the washer and dryer, creating more heat in the home. Not only do appliances throw off heat, but if you are hot from running about, then you will want the house cooler. By making the A/C pump at lower temperatures, you are only adding to your monthly costs.
8 – During the sunniest times of the day, it is best to draw the curtains or blinds. By blocking the sun’s rays, you will find the room cooler, even without the air conditioner running. And, if it is so hot that the unit must be turned on, it does not need to work as hard and cool as much.
9 – While there is some controversy about how ‘airtight” a home should be, there is no dispute that windows and doors should be closed when running the A/C. And, if there are obvious leaks, such as cracks in the pane, then those should definitely be sealed and fixed.
10 – Know your electricity company’s policies. Some providers offer reduced pricing for off-peak times, and others have standardized monthly pricing. In other words, instead of paying for the exact amount of electricity used each month, an equal payment is made regardless of the time of year. Effectively, you pay more when you are not using the electricity, but you pay less when you need it.
Remember, if your family needs to wear sweaters and socks in the dead of summer while sitting in your home, your thermostat is set way too low and you are wasting energy and valuable cash.