Cost-Cutting: Keeping Your Home Air Conditioned For Less
For many people, air conditioning isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. The summer heat and humidity can make it difficult to breathe and think straight. This especially holds true in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. At the same time, you don’t want to have to take out a loan just to pay your energy bills.
Here are some neat tips on how to stay cool all season long without draining your bank account.
Plant More Trees
If your landscaping looks more desert than forest, it’s time to plant trees, shrubs, and whatever other greenery you can think of. Most of the heat you experience in a home is solar gain – sunshine that heats the house directly. This solar gain can make a dramatic difference in the amount of A/C needed to cool the house.
With more shade, such as a big tree outside a window, expect lower energy bills. Plus, a beautiful landscape makes the house look nice, increasing curb appeal and resale value. You get two for one.
Use Solar Screens
A solar screen is a mesh that covers your windows and captures the heat from the sun. This can effectively filter out up to 70 percent of the suns’ rays, reducing energy costs in the process.
You could also replace your window with an energy saving one, but that would cost you a pretty penny. Solar screens are far cheaper than buying new replacement windows.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce energy costs. A programmable thermostat, such as the Nest learning thermostat, directly affects how much energy you use by adjusting the temperature dynamically based on a preset configuration.
Those programmable ‘stats will help tightly control when your A/C kicks on, how long it stays on, and some of them can even help you optimize your energy usage, by intelligently controlling fan speed and runtime.
Use More Fans
Of course, if you want to stay cool without air conditioning, you can always opt for more fan use. Fans are an easy way to cool down because they accelerate the body’s natural evaporative abilities. As sweat accumulates on the skin, the fan moves air around and helps that sweat to evaporate, causing a general cooling – the perceived temperature drops, helping you feel more comfortable so you don’t feel the need to turn the thermostat down.
Sleep In The Basement
Basements are naturally cooler than above-ground rooms because they are underground where the Earth maintains a constant temperature. If you can manage it, move your bedroom to the basement, or consider camping down there when it gets really hot at night.
Avoid Using The Stove
The stove in your kitchen adds to the inherent problem of summer. So to keep your house cooler during those hot 100° summer days, don’t use the kitchen stove. Opt for the microwave, a smaller countertop convection oven, cook outside on the grill or grab some fast food and eat in their air-conditioned business. It’ll get you out of the house and keep your cooling bill under control.
Other than cranking up the air conditioner, how do you manage to stay cool in the torrid heat of summer?