When the temperatures rise, our immediate instinct is to crank the air condition up.Every time you ratchet up your cooling power, you’re also cranking up your utility bill. The average homeowner spends about $1900 on energy costs each year, according to the Consumer Energy Center. About 25 percent of that lump sum accounts for cooling costs. If you’re looking for a few ways to keep your summer finances in order, consider these money saving tips.
Utilize the ceiling fan.
If you have a ceiling fan in any room, flip it on to keep air moving through your house. Energy experts say the slightest movement in air can make drop the temperature in a room for three or four degrees.
Keep the appliances away from the vents.
If your flat screen television sits near your vents, it’s soaking up your cool air. Electronics generate heat and if they’re placed near the vents they’ll cause your air conditioner to work harder and longer.
Hang some white curtains.
In the peak afternoon hours, close your curtains. If you hang white curtains, you can reflect the heat away from the house.
Cover your central air unit
Without blocking airflow, put some sort of covering over your cooling unit. It tends to work harder if the sun is beating on it. You’ll also want to replace the air filter once a year to keep the unit in tip-top shape.
Go easy on the dishwasher.
Don’t let your dishwasher steam your dishes dry. While it’s handy, it produces a lot of unnecessary heat that ends up spilling out of the dishwasher and into your cooling home. Opt for air-drying.
Keep humidity to a minimum.
Damp air tends to make a home feel warmer. You’ll want to avoid any chore that has to do with water. In other words, don’t wash clothes or shower when the sun is at its peak. Save those chores for early morning or later at night.
Grill, don’t cook.
It might seem obvious, but many people still turn the oven on at 5 o’clock to make dinner. Use the grill during the summer, or plan ahead. If you have your heart set on a casserole for dinner, make the meal in the morning and reheat it in the microwave around dinnertime.
Plant trees or vines
Trees can provide a great source of shade when planted in the right spot. While it might take a few years for the tree to grow into its full-shading potential, it’s an affordable way to keep the sun from beaming in. If you don’t want to add a tree, consider vines. Studies show vines that grow on the exterior of a home can keep the interior about ten degrees cooler.
Change light bulbs
Get rid of incandescent bulbs and replace them with florescent bulbs, which generate less heat. You’ll also want to turn off lights when they’re not in use to avoid wasting energy.
Paul Montgomery is a senior journalist and writer for homeinspectors.net, a comprehensive home inspection network. Only the best home inspectors are in their network!