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How to Reduce Cooling Costs
When the temperature rises, does your energy bill go up too? Cooling your home can be just as expensive as heating it, but we’ve got some tips that will help you beat that bill by cooling your home more efficiently and effectively.
Raise the thermostat. The closer your home is set to the outside temperature, the less you’ll pay. It’s estimated that you’ll save 1% on your bill for every degree you raise your thermostat during the summer.
Use fans. Did you know your fans actually create a wind chill effect, much like a windy day in winter? Take advantage of the breeze by using fans efficiently to cool your home.
- Ceiling fans are a great investment that can help warm your home in winter when rotating clockwise and can cool in a counter clockwise direction. It’s estimated that using ceiling fans cools efficiently enough that you can raise your thermostat setting by about 4 degrees. Turn off your fans when you leave the room — they’re designed to cool people, not the room.
- Window fans work best in windows facing away from the prevailing winds, and turned so they are blowing hot air out of your home. For the best results, open windows that face the wind so it can come in, blow across the home and then go out through the window fans. This creates a nice cross breeze!
Pull shades/curtains. Direct sunlight and the afternoon sun quickly warms your home. The best way to block this thermal heat is to close your curtains during the hottest part of the day.
Keep windows open and closed. Knowing when to open and close your windows is key. Cross ventilation is an excellent way to cool your home, so take advantage of a breeze if you can. But, when the weather is humid, it’s best to leave your windows closed. The humidity can linger and make your home feel muggy.
Seal leaks. Thoroughly check your home for air leaks. This is a great way to save energy and money all year long! If you find leaks around your windows, weather stripping is an efficient fix. Or, you can go with a long-term solution and try invest in energy efficient windows.
Avoid adding heat. The last thing you want to do when it’s hot out is make it hotter inside. But you might be doing that without even realizing it. Some of our modern appliances add more heat than we realize. Try to avoid using the following or adjust how you use them during the hottest days:
- Light bulbs kick out a lot of heat. Try to turn off lights when they’re not being used and consider switching to energy efficient LED bulbs. Watch the placement of your lights, too. Move lamps away from your thermostat as the light will artificially warm the surrounding air, prompting the AC to work harder.
- Your oven can quickly warm up your kitchen and the rest of the home. Forget about baking and try grilling outside, microwaving or making a fresh salad.
- The dishwasher is another kitchen culprit when it comes to adding heat to your home. Wash dishes by hand and let them air dry to save energy.
- Your clothes dryer also heats things up. Beat the heat and save money by opting for an old-fashioned clothesline.
Have an HVAC checkup. Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to your comfort, but if it’s not working effectively, it can add to your energy bill. Have a professional visit and do thorough HVAC maintenance. Then, stay on top of routine maintenance by doing the following. Just remember to turn off the power to your unit before working on, in and around it.
- Remove debris from the outside and inside of your unit.
- Clean outer fins by using your garden hose on a spray setting and flushing from the inside out.
- Change the filter at least twice a year, at the beginning of the heating and the cooling season. Your HVAC system may need more frequent filter changes.
Consider landscaping. A few well-plotted trees and shrubs can help you lower your cooling costs by providing natural shade to block hot midday sun.
Use smart technology. Combat big bills by embracing technology with devices designed to give you greater control and remote access.
- Use a smart plug that lets you turn off appliances you left on from your tablet or phone.
- Smart light bulbs turn themselves off when you leave the room. This means you don’t have to worry about heat from the bulbs, it’s already taken care of.
- A smart ceiling fan has all the benefits of regular ceiling fans with voice and phone control.
- Use a smart thermostat like Nest to control your home’s temperature from your phone. Or you can rely on the home/away assist feature and let it automatically adjust.
- Try MySmartBlinds. This app-controlled invention can be set to automatically close when your windows start heating up. The material on these blinds is also designed to help control the thermal heat that enters your home.
If you decide to give smart technology a try, you might be able to save even more money on your home insurance. Connect with your American Family Insurance agent to see if you qualify for a smart home discount.
For the best results, try combining several of these tips to reduce your hot-weather energy bill. A little diligence goes a long way, and soon you’ll be saving some cool cash!