Summer has officially arrived here in Long Island – which means that hot, sticky days – and the air conditioning bills that come from battling them – will soon follow. Want to keep those bills as low as possible? Here are eight of the best ways to do it.
Invest in window treatments – About three-quarters of the sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters your home as heat, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Insulated cellular shades, reflecting window films, and other window treatments can help you manage the greenhouse effect in your home, reducing the cooling load on your A/C (you can read more about window treatments here).
Use your programmable thermostat effectively – If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one…it will pay for itself in one year if you use it correctly, and you’ll enjoy that same savings for years afterward. If you have one but don’t know how to use it, take the time to learn: it can save you 10 percent or more on your cooling and heating bills.
Shoot for 78 degrees – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends a temperature setting of 78 degrees when people are home to get the best balance of cool comfort and cost effectiveness. Set temperatures for four to five degrees higher when you’re out of the house.
Keep air moving – When you use ceiling fans in tandem with your A/C, you can set your thermostat about three to four degrees higher without any loss in comfort. Just make sure the fan blades are rotating counter clockwise, which will draw heavier cool air up into the room (see your owner’s manual for instructions). Also, remember to shut the fan off when you’re not around: fans cool your skin, not the room.
Check and clean/change your A/C filter – A clogged filter can add as much as 10 percent to your cooling bill AND reduce the lifespan of your heating system by putting unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment. Check your filter at least once a month during the summer, changing (or cleaning) it when needed.
Use heat generating appliances less – Avoid using your oven or clothes dryer on hot days; opt for outdoor grilling and clothes hanging instead. Want another easy way to cut heat? Replace your incandescent bulbs with LEDs: more than 85 percent of the energy an incandescent bulb consumes is released as heat, not light.
Make sensible upgrades – A new, high-efficiency air conditioner – professionally installed by Swezey – can save you 30 percent or more on your monthly energy bills; with that kind of savings, the investment will pay for itself in just a few years. In the meantime, you’ll get a more comfortable home and the peace of mind of new equipment and warranty coverage.