This summer may be one of our warmest ones yet. Blasting the air conditioning, opening all your windows, and plugging in fans at full blast may provide some temporary comfort but may end up hurting your wallet with high energy bills while at the same time being harmful to the environment.
Here are a few tips on how to stay cool without overheating your wallet . . .
1 OPTIMIZE YOUR THERMOSTAT SETTING
According to the Department of Energy, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer can save you up to 10% in energy costs each year. If 78 degrees is too warm for you, you can adjust it a bit lower to be comfortable. Just remember that for every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.
Consider getting a programable thermostat, so you can program a warmer setting when you’re not home and automatically start cooling your home right before you get back. If you’re into technology, try a wireless remote thermostat that can be paired with your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to control your air conditioner from wherever you are.
2. CLOSE THE BLINDS & CHECK YOUR SEALS
Kicking up the AC isn’t the only way to keep your home cooler in the hot summer months. Take a quick walk around the house and close all the blinds and curtains. This will keep your rooms from heating up too much and being difficult to cool with your air conditioner or fan. Another tip to keep warm air outside is to add weather stripping.
3. KEEP YOUR VENTS CLEAR
Your air conditioner can’t work efficiently if your vents are blocked by rugs or furniture. Check all of your vents to make sure they’re open, free of dust and directing air toward the center of the room.
4. FAN YOURSELF
Buying stand box or ceiling fans is a small investment that can reduce your energy costs. Using fans to help cool your home means you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level. Just remember to turn off the fans when you’re not in the room. They aren’t intended to cool the space — just the people in the space, via the wind chill effect.
5. RELAX AND UNPLUG
Keep your electronics from sucking up all your summer energy by unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when you’re not using them. It’s an easy way to save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
6. LEARN TO LOVE YOUR MICROWAVE AND GRILL
It’s hot enough outside and firing up your oven inside won’t make your air conditioner’s job any easier. Outdoor grilling and microwave cooking are two ways to prepare food without generating extra heat. When only baking will do, consider making smaller portions you can pop in a toaster oven.