Summer is coming. Temperatures at this time of the year can soar from anywhere between 70°F to over 80°F on average, depending on which state you reside in. It’s an understatement to say the scorching heat can often be highly inconvenient.
The quick and seemingly easy solution is to just resort to the air conditioner, but you’ll soon find yourself with a high energy bill by the end of the month.
Fortunately, there are 4 simple ways to stay cool and comfortable during the summer without breaking the bank.
Ensure air conditioner is well maintained
Before you start using your air conditioner, make sure you’ve recently done maintenance work on it. Dirty air filters and low refrigerant levels will prevent the unit from efficiently using energy. This can lead to high power output without necessarily achieving the right cooling levels in your home.
You can either do it yourself or contact professionals to do the work for you. While you may have to pay a modest service fee for the latter option, regular maintenance not only contributes to energy-efficiency, but it will also extend the lifespan of your air conditioner.
Be smart and energy-efficient with windows
Window treatments and coverings can make a big impact on how your home absorbs and reflects the sun’s rays.
For instance, solar shade installations can prevent up to 80 percent of unwanted solar heat from warming your home. Vertical or horizontal type window blinds do a good job of not just reflecting solar heat, they can also help reduce glare. These are usually made of pleated materials that can easily be folded after use.
At night, you can leave some windows open to let in the cool air. Make sure to close these windows to keep the cool air circulating inside the house.
Use the thermostat wisely
If you must use the air conditioner to keep the overall temperature down throughout the day, use the thermostat to your advantage.
For example, when you leave the house, there’s no real reason to use any temperature control, unless you’re keeping food outside the fridge. Adjust the thermostat accordingly for those hours when you are away. For the time when you’re inside the home, you can go with much cooler settings.
This ensures that the air conditioner doesn’t work extra hard to keep the place cool for the entirety of the day.
Find energy-efficient lighting options
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), incandescent lighting runs much hotter compared to energy-efficient options like LEDs. That’s because only 10 to 15 percent of electricity goes towards producing light. The rest of that energy manifests in the form of heat.
Summer is the time when you can really make use of sunlight. Find areas in your home where you can take advantage of natural light when you’re doing activities like reading or spending time with friends and family.
More ways to beat the summer heat
DOE provides a number of helpful resources on how you can keep energy consumption down in the warmer months. While it’s easy to resort to options that entail higher electricity bills, it can be an unsustainable approach for both your finances and the environment.