Given the choice to spend or save, I might choose ‘spend’ for something tangible, like a candle or some new tunes. But when it comes to paying the electric bill, it’s ‘save’ all the way… right up until I feel like the humidity is trying to kill me. So, what am I supposed to do when the temperature rises, and my A/C is all that keeps my faux-leather chair from ripping the skin off my legs? Pick up a few penny-pinching ideas, that’s what.
Feel the Breeze, Literally
A ceiling fan or standing fan can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler just by moving the air around, and they use a LOT less energy than a central HVAC system. So instead of lowering the temp, try running the fan for a bit.
Keep It Inside
This is the one time your mother would tell you NOT to share, i.e., stop your air-conditioned chill from leaving the house and cooling down the neighborhood. Check all windows for leaks and use caulk or weather stripping to seal holes. If you’re not sure where the leaks might be, your local energy provider likely offers a home energy audit, just take a look at their website.
Clear the Thermostat
If your thermostat is next to a warm appliance or in a beam of sunlight, it’s going to register that extra heat as a reason to get your A/C running again. Make sure it’s located someplace where the temperature won’t fluctuate due to its surroundings.
Keep It Green,
But Not Greenhouse
Sunshine beaming into your windows has kind of a greenhouse effect. Keeping your shades drawn or lowered during the day can help keep your home cooler without having to lower the temperature of the thermostat.
Raise It Up
Professionals in the HVAC industry state that keeping your A/C on a low temperature all day forces it to keep kicking on for shorter spells. Set the temperature higher while you’re away, and also at night when the sun isn’t out. Reduce it back to your comfort level when you’re up and about in the evening. Yes, your A/C will run continuously for a bit to cool things down, but it uses less energy to do this than it would to run frequently all day long.
These are some handy tricks to keeping the bills down, but don’t forget the most important one, which is to properly maintain your A/C unit. A well-maintained machine will last longer, true, but it will also run more efficiently, saving you a buck or twenty.