Finally, the end of winter. Depending on where you are in the United States, you might be enjoying mild temperatures. If you are fortunate, both your heating and cooling system are turned off. If this is the case, then you are also enjoying a much smaller energy bill.
For 65 percent of the country that has a central air conditioner, the longer mild temperatures prevail, the better. But once comfortable spring weather gives way to less pleasant summer heat, we’ll see that familiar spike in our utility bills.
To help save you money and stay comfortable, we put together a list of ideas you can use to stay cool without having to sweat when utility bills show up in the mail.
1. Install A Window Unit
Window unit air conditioners are perfect if lower temperatures help you sleep at night. Rather than running the central unit and cooling areas of the house that see no use, a small single room system consumes far less energy and lets users fine-tune their desired temperature without making others household members uncomfortable.
There are two types of single room air conditioners. The first is a unit that fits in the open window. These are less expensive and can be removed in the winter. A split system works similar to an outdoor central air unit, except the outdoor unit is smaller and doesn’t use up window space, and the indoor door is less bulky and can be permanently installed.
2. Dehumidify the Air
Air conditioners don’t just cool the air, they also help to remove moisture from the air that can make our skin feel sticky and uncomfortable. While not a primary function of air conditioners, they do dehumidify the air. When warmer air is drawn in through the return air vents and passes across coolant coils, moisture vapors reach these coils and condenses into liquid form and falls into a drip pan or drain.
While you can run your air conditioner to dry out the air, this consumes a lot of energy. Instead, run a single room dehumidifier in bedrooms at night, or a large unit in a central location of the house. A dehumidifier can make the air feel several degrees cooler without using as much energy.
3. Close Air Vents In The Attic and Basement
If you have air vents in the attic or basement, you should block them off. Basements tend to be the coolest place in the home, while attics are the warmest. Unless the attic is finished, or used for storage of items that can be damaged by heat, there is no reason to condition the air in this space of the home.
If you have a basement, it might make sense to use it as a living space during warmer weather. With a dehumidifier, this area of the home can provide the most comfort while keeping your energy costs in check.
4. Call An HVAC Specialist To Top Off Fluids
Call a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning specialist to inspect your air conditioning unit. They will check for leaks, damage, and top off coolant to ensure your cooling system is functioning efficiently.
5. Use a Smart Thermostat
If you are adverse to modern technology, you probably don’t have much reason to replace your trusty thermostat dial. While this old piece of technology is tried and true, a modern thermostat with a programmable function can cut back on energy costs by turning down the thermostat when you aren’t home.
This is especially important if you work a day job. A smart thermostat will automatically adjust temperatures higher while you are at work, then lower them towards the end of the work day. Some more advanced units will even let you control the air conditioning system through your wireless internet and smartphone.
6. Turn On Thermostat Fan To Circulate Indoor Air
Keep air moving through the home to make temperatures feel up to 10 degrees cooler than the air. The best way to circulate air through the home is by setting the fan setting of the thermostat to “On,” and setting indoor temperatures to at least 78 degrees. This will run the blower, but will not operate the compressor unless indoor temperatures pass 78 degrees.
7. Switch Off Electronics And Unplug Chargers
Cell phone chargers, computers, televisions and almost every other device that uses electricity will generate heat. Even if devices are turned off, they still consume electricity and generate heat if they are plugged into an outlet.
8. Replace Air Filters And Replace Old Systems
Replacing air filters at regular intervals can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent. It is estimated that homeowners in America spend $29 billion a year on air conditioning. That means that if everyone replaced their air filters today and every 30-90 days, we could save up to $4.3 billion every year.
Enjoy The Warm Weather and Lower Utility Costs
Now that winter has officially ended, it’s time to get outdoors and complete our lists of 11 Spring Home Maintenance Tasks That Need Doing. You can do these any time of year, by the way.
Also, take the time to enjoy the sunshine and don’t spend too much time indoors. When you are out of the house, you will run the air conditioner less frequently and help you spend less on energy cost and reduce your overall carbon footprint.
How do you save money on your utility bill during warmer months? Let us know in the comments below!