Do you know what time of year it is? That's right... air conditioning seasons.
As Summer temperatures continue to climb, there is a natural tendency to want to stay cool and comfortable. This usually involves turning up the air conditioning…which results in increased energy bills…not to mention the effect of increasing carbon pollution on our planet.
As the World places more and more emphasis on reducing global warming, it is important that we all do our share to conserve energy. The key is to balance our need to remain cool and comfortable with the need to protect our planet.
Quinju articles have covered many ways to reduce your air conditioning costs and make your home more energy efficient, including:
- Air Conditioner Buying Guide
- Reduce Your Heating Bill by Upgrading Your Attic Insulation
- Attic ventilation: Your Home Cool and Dry
- Replacement Windows – Energy Efficiency and Value
- 8 Benefits of Upgrading to LED lights
- Kitchen Appliance Buying Guide
However most of these suggestions focus on things that can be done during a home renovation. The following list focuses on things that can be done in your daily routine to reduce your air conditioning costs.
1/ Use a programmable thermostat
Having your air conditioning run all day when no one is home, is like leaving the bath faucet on so you don’t have to wait for the water to get warm. A programmable smart thermostat allows you to better manage your AC system, turning it on and off or adjusting the temperature from your smartphone!
2/ Manage Your Inside Temperature Setting
The smaller the difference between the average indoor temperature and the average outdoor temperature, the less you will spend on air conditioning this summer. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that by increasing your interior temperature by 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) you could save up to 18% of your summer cooling costs. That can add up to significant savings and help reduce global warming.
The three best way to manage your air conditioning costs is to:
- Increase your house temperature a little during the summer months. Try to get acclimatized to a temperature between 25ºC and 27ºC during the day when the house is occupied.
- Adjust your thermostat when the house is not occupied. If you’re going to be away for more than four hours, set it to 28ºC, and turn it off if you’re leaving for more than 24 hours.
- Adjust your thermostat during sleeping hours. For comfortable sleeping during the summer, you do not need the house to be as cool as throughout the day. You won’t notice a 2ºC difference while sleeping, except when the energy bill arrives.
3/ Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are helpful as they help the cool air generated by your air conditioner to circulate throughout your home. Air that is moving also feels cooler than still air, like the wind chill effect in winter.
4/ Open Windows
Careful monitoring of outside conditions and making the decision to turn off the air conditioning and open the windows can significantly reduce your cooling costs.
Northern regions tend to cool off at night, providing the opportunity to open windows and turn off the air conditioning. A nice breeze also provides an opportunity to open windows. Like fans, opening two or more windows in a room or house will create cross ventilation helping to circulate the inside air. Moving air feels cooler.
5/ Close doors
Leaving doors open, when the air conditioning is on, allows the hot humid air in forcing your air conditioner to work harder. Whether going in or out the front door, taking the garbage out to the garage, or make dinner on the bar-b-que, open the doors for as short of time as possible.
6/ Use bathroom and range hoods
Avoid adding to the humidity in the house - Using an exhaust fan while showering, and the range hood while cooking, can reduce the work your AC system needs to do.
In climates with high humidity, use a dehumidifier to maintain comfort in high temperatures will reduce the work your air conditioner needs to do.
7/ Shut off Lights
Incandescent light bulbs convert about 90% of the energy they use into heat. If you are still in the process of upgrading to LED lighting, it is important to Turn lights off when you leave a room or when it’s bright outside. This will help take pressure off your cooling system and your energy bills.
8/ Avoid using the oven / stove
It is kind of obvious that using your stove or oven will make your house hotter. So, on hot days, cook outside or not at all. Hey…you have waited all winter for BBQ season, don’t tell me it is now too hot to use it.
You can also keep your kitchen cool by preparing chilled meals like fresh salads that require little or no cooking time. Using smaller appliances like microwaves can also help.
9/ Delay running the dishwasher and dryer until later in the evening
Similarly, running the dishwasher or dryer also adds to the heat in your home. Delay using these appliances until the cooler evening hours or you can maximize your energy savings by hand washing the dishes and hanging the clothes to dry. When was the last time you tried either of those?
10/ Close Curtains and Blinds
Solar heat gain through windows can heat up a room in no time. While energy efficient windows will reduce this solar gain, they will not eliminate it. Make it a habit to draw curtains and blinds when no one is at home, especially on windows that get full sun.
Whatever your window treatments are, you will see significant savings if you prevent solar heat gain during the day. Using insulated or reflective shades will increase these saving. Your local Blind and Shade experts can help you select the products that are perfect for your home.
Your local Blind and Shade experts can advise you on the best type of shades for your home.
11/ Plant Shade Trees
Planting shrubs and trees near your home, particularly on the south and west exposures, will help block the sun from entering your house through windows, as well as absorb much less sunlight and heat than other building surfaces. Having an outdoor A/C unit shaded, usually by plants, can raise its efficiency up to 10%.
12/ Close Basement Vents
Basements tend to remain cool even during the hottest temperatures. By closing your vents in the basement, it is allowing more of the conditioned air to get to the areas of the house that need it most.
13/ Make better use of your basement
Since your basement is usually cooler, making better use of it on hot summer days can eliminate the need to turn up the air conditioning. Whether watching the ball game, doing homework or sleeping, the basement is always cooler. Some people also extend their living activities into the garage, which can be comfortable when the door is open.
14/ Use Alternative Cooling Units
If the basement is not an option, trying to limit your cooling costs by focusing your cooling to specific areas of the home. A portable air conditioner, window air conditioner, or slit air conditioner can allow you to only condition specific rooms…maybe your office if you work from home, your bedroom if you live alone, or the room where you spend most of your time.
15/ Ensure Duct vents and cold air returns are clear
Furniture and other home décor items can block the air coming out of your ducts, reducing your air movement. Moving air always feels cooler. Ensure vents and cold air returns are clear, especially during warm weather.
16/ Clean and Service Your AC Unit and furnace Regularly
Ensure your air conditioning unit is maintained regularly. A dirty filter makes any air conditioning unit work harder, meaning more electricity and higher energy costs. Cleaning and/or replacing filters once per month will lower an AC’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Use recommendations by the manufacturer to avoid energy waste and overworking your air conditioning unit.
It is a good idea to have a qualified local HVAC specialist service your furnace and air conditioner annually.
17/ Get the Entire Family Involved
Reducing your home’s air conditioning costs is not a one-person job. Instead, get the entire family involved: share this article with them; educate them; let them see your hydro bill; set goals; and celebrate your success together. Your kids need to understand that this is more than a money issue…the health of our planet is at stake!