Do Your Summer Energy Bills Make You Sweat? Cut Your Usage With These Seasonal Air Conditioning Tips
Americans spend an estimated 22 billion dollars yearly on air conditioning alone. With the hottest summer months in full swing, it's easy to see how cutting down on cooling costs is an intimidating proposition. Still, you don't have to take high energy costs as a given -- you can use these tips to help reduce your home's energy usage during the most intensive days of the year.
Host A Barbecue Or Two
Cooking indoors can generate some serious heat, especially if you make food for the whole family and prepare 2-3 meals per day. After you use the stove, oven, or microwave, the generated heat has to go somewhere. As the heat radiates into your home, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool the house back down to your selected temperature.
In order to drive your energy usage back down, it's a good idea to cook outside as much as possible during the summer months. This has the added benefit of getting people out of the house for several hours during the hottest part of the day. With everyone outside, you can bump up the temperature in your home and reduce cooling costs.
Check Your Duct Insulation
Central air conditioners keep your home evenly cooled by circulating fresh cold air to every room through your house's ductwork. When the ducts are improperly insulated or have air leaks, your A/C has to work harder to get the same amount of air where it needs to go. Leaks tend to appear at the seams, so taping over them will cut down on escaping air. Blankets can make for a quick, temporary fix for poorly insulated ductwork as well.
Air conditioners can also be overworked if your attic is low on insulation as well. Since your home's total volume has to be cooled before you'll feel the temperature change, attics with less insulation leave more air for your A/C to chill. If you don't use your attic, filling it up with insulation will significantly reduce your energy usage.
Hang Up The Drying Line
Like cooking, using your clothes dryer can generate a fair amount of heat. After you open up the dryer and take the clothes out, this heat dissipates into your home and increases the overall temperature. Wearing freshly dried clothes in summer can be uncomfortable as well, since additional warmth can get you quickly sweating.
Using a clothesline on sunny days will allow you to dry out your clothing without heating up your house or yourself. As an added bonus, your energy bill will go down even more, since you don't have to pay to run your dryer. Sure, each load may only cost a few cents, but it adds up over the course of a whole summer.
Upgrade To Central Air Conditioning
When you only need to cool off one or two rooms, window conditioners can be plenty efficient. On the other hand, if you need your whole house cooled off, window units will cost you more in the long run than a central cooling system.
Central air conditioners can also save you money in potential repairs and replacements as well. The average window unit lasts around 10 years at the most, but a good central A/C can last twice that, if properly maintained. Consolidating your cooling appliances into one central conditioner also helps reduce the chance of having to perform repairs in the near future. The more machines you have running, the higher the chance that something could go wrong with at least one of them.
While each of these tips may only reduce your costs a small bit, they collectively add up to a significant savings. If you want to upgrade to a more efficient central air system, or if you just want more tips about keeping cool without breaking your budget, why not give your local air conditioning serviceman a call? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.