Five Things To Do To Spend Less on Cooling a Home

June 23, 2021

Air-conditioning is an amazing modern invention. Being able to stay comfortable and cool inside while the temperature outside may be 100° or higher is a wonderful example of what technology can do. Of course, there is a downside: the cost. As the temperature soars, so does the expense of cooling a home. Many homeowners are shocked when they realize how much they will have to pay during the hot summer months. Fortunately, it is possible to cut down on AC system costs. Here are five things to do.

1. Maintain the system

Like any technology, an AC system will work less efficiently as the years pass. This means that regular maintenance is one of the best ways to save on cooling. First, check every month if the air filter is dirty and needs to be replaced. Dirt blocks airflow. Secondly, get a professional to come in periodically. An HVAC technician will keep an AC system running in tiptop condition.

2. Replace if necessary

While AC maintenance is valuable, a point will come when it makes more sense to replace the system entirely. Air conditioning technology has advanced, meaning a new AC can dramatically cut energy bills. When shopping for a new AC, look for a high EER (energy efficiency ratio). The best systems have the Energy Star label. A high-quality AC system may cost more upfront, but will result in huge savings in the long run.

3. Use fans

Fans are incredibly inexpensive to run, typically costing less than a penny per hour. While they don't actually lower temperature, they do make it feel cooler by blowing away the warm air surrounding the body. More air circulation also increases sweat evaporation. This allows the thermostat to be set higher without any loss of comfort. Ceiling fans can also be useful. In the summer, ceiling fans should run counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor.

4. Block out the sun

The sun is the ultimate cause of high cooling costs. While it's obviously impossible to completely block it, it is possible to reduce the sun's effects. The big thing is to keep blinds drawn and shades closed during the hours of direct sunlight. Another option is to install solar screens or window films, both of which reflect energy before it ever reaches a window. More ambitious homeowners can plant trees around their home for purposes of shade.

5. Don't cool an empty home

Technically, the purpose of an AC isn't to cool down a house. Rather, it's to cool down the people in that house. If no one's home, having the AC running at full blast is a huge waste of money. This is true even if the occupants are gone only for a few hours. Turning the thermostat up can save a bundle. Avoid the irritation of returning to a warm home and having to constantly adjust the thermostat by installing a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can be programmed to shut on and off at preset times.

A remarkable technology like air-conditioning is never going to come without a significant expense. The goal, then, is simply to limit that cost. Luckily, that's a goal that anyone can accomplish.

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