During the hot summer months the average American family pays about 40% of their energy bill for air conditioning of their house, but this is not necessary. Use the following simple tips to help you keep your house cool and reduce your energy bills at the same time:
- During the day keep all windows closed. At night you can open them for ventilation and switch on a fan instead of an air conditioner.
- If you need to cool only one room, don’t use your central air conditioning. Invest in a portable air conditioner, instead. Modern portable units have a very high energy efficiency rating, so it will cool your room effectively and save you a lot.
- Install mini-blinds or white window shades. Mini-blinds can be very effective and
can reduce heat gain from direct sunlight by 40-50 percent. You can also hang bamboo shades or tightly woven screens outside your windows. This will stop up to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting through your windows.
- If you are using a mini split air conditioner, make sure that the outside compressor is well shaded. However, trees and shrubs shouldn’t be planted right next to it; it needs some room for air flow.
- It is best to clean or replace your air conditioner filter at least once a month. Dust build-ups can significantly reduce air flow.
- When buying an air conditioning unit, make sure that it is the right size for your room. A unit that is too small will not cool your room effectively, and an A/C that is too large will consume much more energy than necessary. See recommendations for proper window air conditioner sizes for your room.
- If you use central air conditioning, seal all A/C ducts. Insulate ducts that run through rooms that don’t need cooling, like the basement or the attic.
- If your air conditioner is old, consider replacing it with a modern high efficiency unit. Older A/C systems have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of only 6 or 7, while the best air conditioners on the market today offer SEER as high as 13. That means that it will consume almost 50% less energy.
- Cooking, drying clothes or dishwashing generates a lot of heat. Try to delay these activities until the evening, when it gets cooler.
Generally, people just switch their air conditioners on and set the desired temperature. This will cool your room, of course, but it will cost you, too. Furthermore, excessive energy consumption is not environmentally friendly, so by following our simple advice you could not only save on your bills, but you could also help to reduce pollution in your area.