A few short weeks ago our favorite groundhog, Phil, predicted that spring would come early this year. In a lot of northern states this was considered great news since they’d been blanketed in snow and hit with brutal weather during the last few months. For the southern states, the prediction was met with groans and worry. We count on the winter months to give us a brief respite from the heat but it’s only very brief in many cases and then we’re immersed in the heat once again. In areas like the one I live in, the end of winter means an increase in our electric bill due to having to run our air conditioner to combat the heat. The end result is a rather nasty electric bill that leads to lots of stress and irritation.
Being the budget savvy diva that I am, and given that it’s been pretty warm here lately, I’ve started scouring the internet for easy ways to cut the cost of our rising heating expenses. I know that a lot of my readers, especially those in the southern states will rejoice to know that there are ways to lower their cooling bills, especially with the weather being as warm as it has been and only standing to get hotter as spring and summer draw closer. Even in northern states, who wouldn’t welcome the chance to lower their cooling costs. The best part is that a lot of ways to cut your coolings costs can be applied to heating costs come next winter!
- The first way is one of my favorites since it doesn’t require running the air conditioner or central air at all. You can head down to your local hardware store, lowes, home depot, etc. and ask to be pointed in the direction of their window films. These cheap window covers help drastically cool off the house, especially if you have a lot of windows that are constantly in the sun during the day. Roughly 30% of the heat in your home comes from your windows but a combination of trees outside and the film you buy at your hardware store can end up cooling your home by at least 20%.
- Using fans is a great way to avoid using your air conditioner or central air if you don’t have to. In the spring it’s very useful here in my area to either use ceiling fans or go out and buy a few box fans to place in our windows. The moving air causes by the moving fan blades will help keep the air in your home constantly moving, thus keeping it cooler than if you aren’t using them.
- Buy energy efficient air conditioners. Especially if you’re using window units, which are electric hogs all in themselves, buying one that has an energy efficient logo is always a smart choice. You may end up paying more upfront for energy efficient appliances but the lower cooling costs all year long are definitely worth the extra expense.
- Clean or change your air conditioner filters monthly. I know we don’t think about it as often as we should but cleaning the air filters helps our air conditioners to run a lot more efficiently and use less electricity. Dirty air filters slow air flow and cause your air conditioner to draw more power trying to work around it. Basically, a dirty air filter causes your air conditioner to work harder unnecessarily.
- Check for and fix any leaks in your air conditioning ducts. If you live in an older home this is especially important since between 10 and 40% of your cooling costs is lost through gaps in the duct work. Examine your duct work for cracks, leaks or bad connections and if you’re a DIY fan, you can seal the ducts yourself pretty easily or call someone to come take a look and get a quote.
Obviously there are all kinds of ways you can go about cutting down on your cooling costs. Especially if you take to the internet or get inventive on your own, you can cut your costs quite substantially from month to month. These are just my top 5 ways and I hope that if you’re reading this then you can use some of these ideas to cut your own cooling costs or that they motivate you to do a little digging and find even more ways!