6 Ways to Keep Cool for Less
Looking for ways to help you save energy and keep costs down during the spring and summer when the weather is warm? We have several tips to cool your home more efficiently. While some of these ideas may take a little budgeting, others are completely free.
- Improve your windows to keep out heat
- Change how you use your thermostat
- Use fans effectively
- Upgrade your lighting
- Stop leaks
- Adjust your water heater
Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows during the day. There are multiple ways to do this. There are specially designed thermal films that you or a professional can apply to single-pane windows in older homes, reducing the amount of heating and cooling loss through glass without altering visibility. You could also buy insulated curtains and keep them shut during the day to block out the hot summer sun. Or if you want to make a bigger investment, you could upgrade single-pane windows to double-layer, energy-efficient modern windows.
Set your thermostat at a temperature you find comfortable. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting when you return home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat allows you to do this automatically and without sacrificing comfort. Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you first turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic). ENERGY STAR ventilating fans work more efficiently than older, unrated models.
Consider lighting options that operate at cooler temperatures. If you use halogen bulbs in recessed lighting or lamps, they can use a lot of power and create a lot of heat, forcing your A/C system to work harder. Consider switching to cool, efficient LED lighting. Usually this only requires changing a bulb to an LED equivalent. Develop a habit of turning off lights when you leave a room, and teach your kids the same good habits. You could even install a motion-sensing automatic switch that turns lights off after several minutes of inactivity.
Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows. Check laundry vents and replace them if they are cracked or not well sealed.
Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding. The lower setting will also conserve energy and save money. Many families are switching to tankless systems that don’t need to maintain a full tank of water at a constant temperature when you’re not using it. Consider upgrading to tankless and enjoy the other benefit of never running out of hot water in the middle of a shower again.
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.