With a little bit of effort and some changes in strategy, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to cut back on your air conditioning usage. Air conditioners are heavy users of electricity so cutting back should save you money in the long run.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t already have one, installing a programmable thermostat is your number one investment! You can then schedule the thermostat to control the heating and cooling of your home based on your schedule and activities. When everyone is away at work and school, there is no need to have the air conditioner chugging away. Instead you can program the heat to go up when you leave the house and to cool back down for when you come home. Remember your furnace fan is being used to distribute the cold air throughout the house (not just for heat) so scheduling the fan to come on periodically throughout the day will help to keep the cold air circulating and the unit shouldn’t have to turn on as frequently. Some of the wifi-enabled units allow you to control the thermostat remotely giving you even more options and more control over your house temperature.
Fans are another great addition to any home – especially in the bedrooms. Although a fan doesn’t actually cool the room, it keeps the cold air circulating and speeds up moisture evaporation – which makes it feel cooler. Running a ceiling fan at night while you sleep can allow you to let the thermostat come up a few degrees. Be sure it’s running counterclockwise so that it pushes the air down. Ceiling fans are heavier than a standard light fixture so if you are replacing your existing fixture, make sure the ceiling area is framed out (blocked) to take the weight of the fan. If not, you may need to install blocking to take the weight. Hire an electrician to ensure a safe installation. Standing oscillating fans work too if changes to the ceiling fixture are not an option.
Block the Sun
Windows are a great source of light but if you have some windows with direct sunlight they let in a ton of heat that your air conditioner then has to fight against. Window coverings can help with this, especially on south and west facing windows. You can find cellular shades that block the heat but still give you some light and ability to see out. If you are ever in the market for new windows – adding the extra UV protection on them will pay off in the summer months.
Sealing up air leaks is a good idea for both heat and cooling savings. No point in cooling off the outside! Make sure damaged weather-stripping is replaced and caulk up any leaks around window and door frames. Be sure you close all windows before turning the air conditioning on – they will counteract each other on a hot day. If you have a wood burning fireplace, ensure the damper is closed when not in use.