Whether it was weekends spent at the lake, golfing with my dad or roasting marshmallows in my backyard, summer has always been my favorite time of year.
Another memory (although not so fond) is of my dad yelling “shut the door!” after somebody left it open (with the air conditioner running). As kids, my friends and I always looked at him like he was crazy.
As someone who has grown up and had to pay for my own air conditioning the last couple years, I now realize what all the yelling was about. Air conditioning is expensive!
While it hasn’t been consistently warm enough to run the AC for an extended period of time yet, it will be soon enough. When that time comes, you can follow these individual steps to help cut the costs of using your central air system during the summer.
- Keep the doors shut: Take my dad’s advice. If you’re not sold yet, here’s another way to look at it. In the same tone that my dad uses, a friend once shouted “I don’t pay to cool the outdoors!” after I made the fatal error of keeping his door open for a split second too long.
- Close registers (if applicable): Do you have a spare bedroom that isn’t being used? What about a storage room? If so, there is no need to pay to cool rooms that aren’t being used.
- Decrease sun exposure: It’s simple. The less sun/heat that enters your home, the less money that comes out of your pocket to remove it. To minimize sunlight, use drapes or blinds to block sunlight.
- Use fans: When run in a counter-clockwise motion, ceiling fans help air circulate throughout the room. If used properly, ceiling fans can cool a room by up to 8 degrees.
- Check seals: As time passes, it’s important to re-caulk around windows to ensure that air can’t escape. Make sure to patch up any seals around doors.
- Use a programmable thermostat: This allows you to set specific times to use the AC. For example, there’s no reason for the AC to be on full blast during the day when you’re at work (and nobody else is going to be in the house). If you work until 5 p.m., set the AC to turn on at 4 p.m. and you’ll walk into a cool house after a hard day of work (while also saving money by not having it run all day).
- Reconsider using your oven: On extremely hot days, it might be a better option to go to a restaurant than to heat your house due to oven use. If you insist on staying in, use a microwave to reduce heat exposure.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also the time that AC use spikes your electric bill. Follow the seven steps listed above and you’ll find that your electric bills are much more manageable.
Have any other useful tips to help save money on your AC? Let me know!