While staying cool is definitely a priority when the temperature starts to go up, or even tops out in the triple digits, most people also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on their energy bill thanks to the cost of running the AC day and night. Of course, you may also be eco-minded, in which case you probably take issue with the carbon debt you’re racking up each time you adjust the thermostat. The point is that you want to use as little energy as possible when it comes to staving off the sweltering heat of summer. Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to save energy even as you keep your interior at a manageable temperature. Here are just a few tips and tricks that will help you beat the heat and lower your utility bills.
- Get a home energy audit. Most people don’t realize how common it is for homes to spring leaks, so to speak. For this reason, you may want to call your local power company to find out about scheduling a home energy audit (if they don’t offer this service they should be able to recommend a reputable third party for the job). A professional will come to your home for an inspection and then provide you with a report detailing the areas in the structure that are causing you to use extra energy. You’ll have to hire someone else to add weather stripping, spray foam, and other types of insulation to seal up leaks around doors, windows, and vents (or simply DIY), but you could end up saving significantly over the summer and the years to come.
- Use a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s time to get rid of that unreliable dial and replace it with a modern, digital upgrade. This product can not only offer you accurate readings of the interior temperature, but you can also use it to set a schedule designed to cut energy usage, especially when you’re away. The potential to save by this method is enormous.
- Address the windows. You’ve no doubt heard that closing the windows and pulling the drapes during the day is the best way to preserve a cool indoor atmosphere. But if you’re home during the day you might not enjoy the prospect of sitting in the dark. And if you have to turn on the lights, you’re wasting energy anyway. Instead, consider adding energy film to your windows. This clingy substance has the ability to repel up to about 90% of the sun’s heat-producing rays, keeping your home cooler during the day. As a bonus, it can also stop the sun from fading furniture and carpeting.
- Go green. One of the best ways to reduce your reliance on electrical cooling methods is to surround yourself with greenery. Shade-giving trees around your home can help to decrease your interior temperature significantly (by as much as several degrees). So get busy with the planting if you want to cut back on your AC usage.
- Clean your ducts. You may ask yourself, “Is duct cleaning a wise investment?” The answer is an emphatic yes. Not only should you have your AC unit serviced before the worst of the summer heat, but you should also get your ductwork cleaned regularly – every few years is probably sufficient. This service will clear out any dust, debris, mold, pests, or other items that could be clogging your ductwork and leading to extra energy usage, not to mention allergies. In short, it’s a part of regular maintenance that you shouldn’t neglect.