Air conditioning costs eat up a lot of a family's monthly budget during the winter and summer months when it is either too cold or too hot and heating and cooling become necessary. There are several steps you can take to lower your air conditioning bill every summer.
Keep the drapes or blinds closed. About 33 percent of the summer heat in your house comes through the windows, so keeping all curtains drawn during the hot summer days will reduce your cooling bill. Cover all of your windows, particularly those facing west and south, with window film to significantly block out the sun. Doing this can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 50 percent!
Additional tips to lower your air conditioning bill:
(1) Don’t do laundry during the hottest part of the day in the summer as the humidity from operating the washer and dryer will raise the temperature in your home 5 or more degrees and make you’re A/C unit work harder to keep your house cool;
(2) Plant a bush or tree near your AC condenser unit to shield it from the sun and you can reduce cooling costs by about 10 percent, but trim any trees or shrubs around your outside unit that are compromising air flow to the unit. If your outside AC unit can’t get air flow because an object is blocking it, it increases energy consumption by about 15 percent;
(3) Clear your air conditioning unit of dust, dirt and debris once a year. If your A/C unit is outside, turn it off, remove the outer covering and spray the coils and fins with a water hose. If your unit is located inside, unplug it, remove the grill and dust off the fins and vacuum away any dirt or debris;
(4) Use compact fluorescent bulbs to light your house and lower the room temperature by about five degrees. Traditional light bulbs generate a lot of heat which makes your air conditioner run that much harder;
(5) Install a layer of insulation in the attic to lower your cooling bill by about 25%, plus doing this increases the value of your home;
(6) Seal all cracks in windows and doors with insulation or weather stripping and close the fireplace damper. Plug air leaks in electrical outlets located on the exterior walls of your home with insulating foam gaskets on the back of the plate (can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe's);
(7) Use ceiling fans and portable fans in conjunction with your air conditioning. Fans make the air temperature seem about 7 degrees cooler than it really is. Ceiling fan blades should be set to run counterclockwise in summer and clockwise in winter;
(8) Install solar film on your windows, particularly those facing south, to block up to 70% of the summer sun and lower your energy bill by about 30%.
(9) If you have a programmable thermostat use it to automatically raise the temperature during the day when the adults are at work and the kids are in school and lower itself about 30 minutes before everyone is due home. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, the cost of installing one is well worth the amount you will save on your monthly electricity bill all year round. People often forget to raise and lower the air temperature as they live their lives. A programmable thermostat will do this for you automatically and save you hundreds ( or even thousands) each year on your heating and cooling costs.
If you do all of the steps above, you can reduce your electric bill by as much as 75 percent!