Today is the first day of summer. I don't know about where you live, but it is HOT here, and the air conditioning is running between 4 and 7 hours a day here already. Given that cooling can make up 40% or more of your electricity costs during the summer (or so our HVAC tech informed me), consider a few tips to help you reduce your energy bill as much as possible this season.
- Ensure your air conditioner or heat pump is clean and free of debris. Schedule a professional HVAC contractor to do a check-up, cleaning, and routine maintenance on your unit at least once per year--and preferably twice, once in spring before you need your air conditioning and once in fall before you need your heater.
- Inspect and clean or replace your air conditioner's or heat pump's air filters consistently once per month. Our HVAC contractor recommends that we use the cheapest air filters we can find and changing them once per month, costing us less than a dollar per month each, but follow your own HVAC contractor's recommendations.
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer. Raise the thermostat even higher when you aren't going to be home for a long period of time. If you can't currently bear a 78 degree temperature in your home, work on increasing the temperature in your home one degree at a time until 78 degrees feels comfortable to you.
- Fans use significantly less electricity than air conditioners, so use your ceiling fans to keep cool--but only when you are in a room. Unlike air conditioning, fans cool people, not rooms, so turn a fan off when you leave the room for more than a few minutes.
- Keep curtains closed to block out the heat from the sun. Consider buying blackout curtains. Also consider applying heat control film on windows that face the sun during the day.
- Seal air leaks in ducts and around windows and doors. Also verify that your home is properly insulated for your region.
One more tip: Depending on where you live, you might consider purchasing a dehumidifier. When we lived in Florida near the coast, we found a dehumidifier helpful at keeping our home cool--or at least as sticky-free as possible.
Do you have any additional tips to keep cool this summer? If so, leave a comment below. I'll respond to it in a week or so.