If you want to create a cool, comfortable home during the summer without going broke in the process, it is important to look for ways to reduce your air conditioning costs. Luckily, there are a lot of simple changes that you can make that will dramatically reduce your energy usage, allowing you to stay comfortable without spending a fortune in the process. Check out these eight tips to make cooling your home more affordable and more efficient:
- Plan your landscaping with cooling in mind
Planting trees on the sunny side of your house is one of the most effective ways to keep your home cooler during the summer. The shade provided by the trees helps keep the temperature inside your house from climbing too high. As a result, it is a lot easier and less expensive to keep your space cool, reducing the demand on your air conditioner.
Consider planting deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter. That way, they will keep your home shaded in the summer while still allowing the sun to get through in the winter.
- Use solar screens, window films, or shades to block out the sun
Much of the heat that accumulates in your house during the day is caused by the sun coming in through your windows. If you can find a way to block out the sun, it will naturally keep your home much cooler.
There are quite a few different options available. Solar screens fit on the outside of your house like regular window screens. The difference is that they are designed to reflect as much a 70% of the heat from the sun.
Window films are also effective at blocking out solar energy, helping to create a cooler space. You can also look into blackout shades or curtains. This is an affordable way to keep your home cool and comfortable on a hot summer day, reducing the strain on your air conditioner as a result.
- Use a programmable thermostat
There is no point in paying to keep your air conditioner running when you aren’t at home. Instead, by using a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to automatically adjust based on your schedule. For instance, if you work during the day, you could set the thermostat to keep the temperature higher while you are at work, lowering it shortly before you get home. This can dramatically reduce your energy usage.
- Use fans to circulate air throughout your house
Fans are a lot less expensive to operate than air conditioners. Depending on how hot it is outside, you can either use them on their own or as a supplement to your air conditioning system.
Installing a ceiling fan is a great option. These fans do an excellent job of circulating cool air throughout your space. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, when you use a ceiling fan along with your air conditioner, you should be able to set your thermostat approximately 4° higher without experiencing any loss of comfort.
Attic fans are another good option. These powerful fans are designed to remove hot air from your home through your attic space. In the evening, after the temperatures outside have dropped, you can open the windows and turn on the attic fan to remove hot air from your space while at the same time drawing cool air in from outside.
- Spend as much time as you can in your basement
Basements naturally stay cool, even when it gets extremely hot outside. If you have a finished basement, try to spend as much time as you can downstairs. If you don’t have a finished basement, you may want to consider renovating the space to make it livable so that you can enjoy it during the summer.
- Avoid cooking indoors
Opt for foods that don’t require cooking such as salads or sandwiches. Alternatively, you can cook outside using a small toaster oven or a grill. If you have to cook indoors, consider using a slow cooker since they give off a minimal amount of heat compared to a stove or oven.
- Keep your air conditioner properly maintained
If you want your air conditioner to run as efficiently as possible, you need to keep it well-maintained. Periodically check your filters to make sure that they are not clogged. At least once a year, have your system professionally inspected to make sure that there are no issues that need to be addressed to keep it running smoothly.
- Consider modifying your existing roof or installing a new one
Dark colors tend to absorb heat while light colors tend to reflect it. If you have ever walked across a black parking lot on a hot summer day, you have experienced this firsthand. The same thing happens with your roof. If you have dark shingles on your house, they absorb heat from the sun, making your house a lot hotter. On the other hand, if you have a light-colored or reflective roof on your home, it can keep your space much cooler. In fact, information provided by the Department of Energy shows that light-colored or reflective roofs are generally about 50° cooler than dark roofs.
There are a lot of different options that you can turn to if you want to lighten the color of your roof. In some cases, you may be able to get by applying a coating to your existing roof. Alternatively, you can look into metal roofs or reflective shingles. Even though replacing a roof is quite expensive, it can wind up saving you a lot of money on your cooling costs in the long run and is something that is definitely worth considering.
These are eight of the most effective ways to reduce your air conditioning costs during the summer. Even if you implement just a few of these changes, you should notice a decrease in your monthly utility bills. By making your home more energy-efficient, you can not only save money but you can also reduce your personal impact on the environment, which is something that you can feel good about.