According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average energy and home air conditioning bill costs American homeowners over $29 billion per year in total. A lot of that expense can be avoided with a few easy tips and simple hacks.
The average home resident spends an average of $181 for air conditioning and other utilities. Now imagine taking 20% from that.
That’s an extra $36 in your pocket a month, or an additional $432 a year!
Investing that $432 in a low-yield mutual fund year over year, at a 7% return rate will give you $6,819 in 10 years before taxes.
Thankfully, keeping your cooling costs down is easier than you think.
By following these tips and applying a little can-do attitude, you’ll be saving money in no time.
How to save money on your air conditioning bill:
Plant trees and shrubs around the house
Most heat in your home comes from the infrared sunlight that enters through glass windows and doors.
Trees and ivy around windows not only give your home curb appeal, but also shade the sun from getting into your home and raising the temperature. The inverse is true in the winter: one can cut back the foliage to allow more sun to enter the home and keep it warm.
In addition, the Department of Energy states that if you have trees or shrubs shading your air conditioner, it’s possible to increase your AC’s efficiency and reduce costs of your air conditioning bill up to 10%.
Close your fireplace flue during the summer months
Closing your flue during the summer months is a smart decision.
Leaving the flue to a fireplace open is the same thing as having a window or door open. Heat rises through the open area and out into the world. Remedy this by attaching a pull chain to your fireplace flue to open and close it, or by closing it manually at the start of the season.
This little DIY trick can save you an additional 10% on your air conditioning bill.
Cool your home, not the neighborhood
Unless your home is brand new, there is a high chance that cool air is leaking out through cracks in windows, doors, and ducts.
It’s beneficial for any homeowner to get an energy audit to see how much air is leaking out of your home.
If you don’t have the money to get an energy audit, performing your own is easy! Simply walk around the home’s exterior and run your hand around the outside of the windows and doors. If you feel cold air, you’ve got a leak.
Simply apply fresh caulk to the crack you feel air coming out of. Be sure to clean or remove any existing caulk before applying a fresh layer. A fresh seal will be stronger if it has two clean contact surfaces to dry on.
Install solar screens
According to the EPA, solar screens absorb nearly 70% of the sun’s energy before it makes its way inside of a home. This is especially true when it comes to windows that face the east or west.
Solar screens don’t just keep the sun out; they work great at keeping insects out too.
Seal any holes in HVAC ductwork
Sealing cracks in a home’s ductwork has many advantages.
For one, the air circulating throughout stays where it is supposed to be. Inside of the ductwork.
Second, sealing any cracks adds to the lifespan of your HVAC unit; one of the most critical home appliances. Your HVAC will not have to work as hard if there is no cool air escaping into the world.
Third, it saves you money!
Don’t ignore your basement
Remember what they say about heat rising?
We’ll give you three guesses what happens to cold air (hint: it’s the opposite).
Basements are generally much cooler than the rest of the home, and many an enterprising homeowner has used this to their advantage in the hot months.
Here are a few links to some snazzy blog posts we found on Pinterest to make the basement a cool summer oasis.
Having family and friends around the grill is one of our favorite summertime activities, and luckily, it’s one that makes financial sense as well. Not having the heat from the oven or stovetop keeps your home at a stable temperature.
This frees your HVAC up to cool the house without additional strain.
There’s also much less cleanup! Just don’t let any of your loved ones use this as an excuse to not bake any pies.
-Turn your appliances into night owls
It’s a good practice to use your heavy-duty appliances during the evening hours.
Why? Simply put, it’s cooler at night time, and the energy produced by the appliances is less intensive on the central cooling system.
An independent study from an energy company in the UK shows that running appliances during the evening hours significantly lowered the heating and air conditioning bill in their home.
Speaking of excess heat
Making sure that your air conditioning unit has an EnerGuide rating of SEER 17.0 or higher is one of the best ways to make sure that your home is being cooled properly.
It’s also beneficial to make sure that the AC unit is the right size for your home and cooling needs. There are several guides online, including this video from ASM.
Throw a little shade
Shades, blinds, curtains, awnings or external screens are great ways to keep the sunlight and summer heat out of your home.
Run your AC based off humidity
Keeping a humidity thermometer or hygrometer in your home is another excellent method to help you decide how often to use your air conditioner.
One of your air conditioning unit’s main tasks is to remove excess moisture from the air. Reduce the load on your A/C by investing in a separate dehumidifier or running it when it’s drier inside will extend the life of the unit and drop the price of electricity bills.
Take some time to vent
Speaking of humidity – it’s best to avoid adding any excess humidity to your house. There are few ways you can do this.
- Run the exhaust fan while cooking in the kitchen.
- Run the exhaust fan while taking a shower.
Noticing a trend?
That’s what fans are for
Use fans to manage airflow in your home.
Ceiling fans and standing fans are produce a breeze and make you feel cooler. Be sure to keep windows closed tightly to keep out the hotter daytime air.
It only takes a touch
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the thermostat!
Ideally, you want to keep your air conditioner’s thermostat between 72ºF and 80ºF when your home is occupied.
Stepping out for a bit? No problem!
Set the temperature to 82ºF or higher if you’re going to be away for a few hours.
If you’re going to be away from home longer than 24 hours, simply turn it off and turn it back on when you arrive back home.
Have any more ideas you would like to share about saving money on your air conditioning bill?
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