According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 43% of your monthly utility bills are attributed heating and cooling costs. Here are ways you can reduce your cooling costs during the warmer months.
Sunlight shining on your roof or coming through the windows contributes to much of the heat accumulating inside your home. Shade plants are one way to reduce the amount of sun that reaches your home. Consider planting leafy trees outside of your home. If you plant shrubs or trees to shade your air conditioner, you can improve the efficiency of your AC by approximately 10%.
Shield Your Windows
Mesh-like window coverings, or solar screens, can intercept 70% of solar energy before it heats up your home. Window screens are especially useful for west- and east-facing windows, because they receive more direct sunlight.
Another option is using window films. These metalized, transparent sheets help reflect heat before it is transferred through the glass.
In order for the window films to be effective, the windows must be closed. Solar screens serve multiple functions; they keep both insects and the sun out, even when the window is open.
Turn Up the Thermostat When You Are Not Home
When you are at home, your thermostat should be at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when you are away or asleep, set the thermostat higher. You can reduce your air conditioning bill by 5% to 15% just by increasing the temperature on your thermostat when you do not need to keep the house as cool.
Add A Fan
Fans are useful for circulating the cool air in your home. When possible, add fans to the upper level of your home and keep the windows on the lower level open. If you live in a single-story home or apartment, close the windows closest to the fan and open the ones furthest away, ideally near the windward side of your residence.
Avoid Using the Stove
You can keep indoor heat to minimum by reducing or eliminating using the stove during the warmer months. Try eating cold salads or using the microwave instead. If you must use the oven or range, limit cooking to the evening hours. Also, turn on any exhaust fans in the kitchen to remove the hot air. Similarly, turn on the bathroom exhaust after hot showers.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
Replacing an older room AC with a newer model can cut your energy use by up to 50%. Look for models with a high energy-efficiency rating. Choose the higher SEER within your budget.
Lower Your AC Speed
The fan speed on your AC should be set to high, except when the humidity is high. When it is humid, lower the speed. When the air moves through your AC slowly, it can remove more of the moisture from the air and increase your comfort.