Right now, I'm sitting in a comfortable office. The temperature is about 73 degrees. Outside my office window, the temperature is about 97. The nearly 30-degree difference between the cool indoor and the sweltering outdoors is courtesy of a humming device known by the acronym AC. All over the world, millions of people are enjoying the benefits of this climate-altering technology, but at what cost?
Air conditioning is an expensive habit. It can become a wasteful habit if you’re not taking a few simple measures. Here’s how you can help fight soaring costs and feel a bit better about that energy-draining unit.
Any place in your home where the air can escape is a place where expensive air will also escape. A series of cracks around a doorframe, leaky windows, or gaps in the baseboards can be costing you dearly. As you enter the summer months, plug up the cracks in your house using a special foam-filler solution available at any home improvement store.
Every air-handling unit has a filter. Check the filter on your system to make sure it is clean and fresh. Changing your filter every month during the summer is a great way to make sure it’s functioning at an optimal level.
Simply having a hands-off policy about your AC unit is a great way to keep costs down. The temptation is to lower it a few degrees anytime you get hot. The sudden tweaking of the thermostat might be losing you money. Set your thermostat and stick with the setting. Your thermostat will make the appropriate adjustments. And, no, you don’t have to live in a home where the temperature is always 55 degrees. Raising the temperature by just two degrees translates into major annual savings.
If you’re a lover of natural light, this may be a hard one. I’m always tempted to throw open the shades and let the sunshine in. Unfortunately, my love for the light is a budgetary downfall. Opening the shades lets in a lot of light, which equals heat. Keep the shades closed and you will increase your unit’s efficiency.
It’s still OK to use fans. Supplementing the AC with a bit of fan-blowing goes a long way in cooling down the air. Using ceiling fans and other fans is a helpful way to reduce costs and make the air feel cooler.
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