Summer is just around the corner and budget-minded consumers need reliable information and resources about how to save money on home cooling costs. Here are 5 ways to save money and keep your “cool” when temperatures soar:
Check your current air conditioning system, windows, window coverings, thermostats and fans for areas where cool air can escape to the outside or heat can build up inside. Using Energy Star products throughout your home such as windows, programmable thermostats, and ceiling fans can significantly improve your comfort, energy efficiency and bottom line.
Consider replacing an old central air system (SEER-Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio- rating of 10 or less) with a new high efficiency unit (SEER rating of 14 or more)—this could save at least 33 percent on your cooling costs. For window AC units, a CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 11 or more is most efficient. Also, direct sunlight falling on a window air conditioning unit increases its workload, so when possible, place these units on the north or shady side of the house.
Consider replacing old windows with Energy Star windows through replacement window services. Use dark or drawn blinds, shades, and thermal drapes to block sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on the south- and west-facing windows.
Install a programmable thermostat that can be programmed to a preset temperature and schedule, so it saves you money and hassle. Ceiling fans or circulating fans can also improve cooling efficiency.
Attics must be ventilated to relieve heat buildup caused by the sun. For existing homes, determine whether attic ventilation is adequate and, if necessary, improve airflow by adding or enlarging vents. Hiring a professional roofer to complete a roof inspection is a great way to make sure your attic is properly ventilated.
Open windows during the moderate weather of spring and fall for cooling instead of operating air conditioning equipment. If you live where summer nights are cool, open the windows at night, then close and turn AC on in the morning.
The higher the temperature is set on the thermostat, the more energy you save. Some energy companies like First Energy Corp suggest keeping the temperature between 70 and 75º and at 78 when no one is home.
You may not use your entire home, and cooling that extra space wastes energy and money. Closing vents and doors in unused or rarely used rooms help to save on home cooling costs.
When building a home, choose light-colored roof shingles for your house to reflect more of the sun’s heat. The darker the shingles, the more heat that will be absorbed during the summer season. Consult a professional roofer if considering replacing existing shingles with new ones.
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