During the summer months, many people experience a sudden and unwanted uptick in their monthly energy bills. The change almost always occurs due to increased use of the air conditioning system, which uses a considerable amount of energy. Here are three tips to help homeowners keep their homes cool without breaking the bank.
1. Close all doors and windows when the air conditioner is running: Although it might seem obvious, all too many people forget to close up their house before they start using their air conditioning systems. Because even the slightest leak can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of air conditioning, it is absolutely important to make sure all doors and windows are shut completely. You can close the vents in rooms that you don’t use regularly, like guest bedrooms, to cool other rooms more quickly.
2. Outfit your windows with heavy drapes: To keep the heat from the sun out of your house, consider hanging heavy drapes over your windows, especially the ones that face the sun for large portions of the day. Heavy drapes block out the sunlight and prevent it from heating up your house during daytime hours. As a result, your home will stay cooler and you will direct less electricity toward the use of your air conditioning system.
3. Turn off your lights: During daylight hours, turn off all artificial lights in your house and, if possible, illuminate your house with natural light. By doing this, you will decrease electricity usage for lighting purposes and mitigate some of the heat produced by light bulbs. However, you should exercise caution when opening up windows on sun-facing sides of the house; the direct sun exposure can heat up your home and require additional use of the air conditioning system.
4. Install a programmable thermostat: Cooling costs account for roughly 50% of a home’s monthly electricity usage. Programmable thermostats will help control your energy usage by only cooling the house when you’re home. This thermostat from Nest makes using a programmable thermostat easy by taking the programming out of it! Nest learns your schedule and the temperatures you like and does the rest. It even has sensors that know when you’re home or not. An added bonus: you can control it from your phone or computer while you’re away!