Are your electricity bills astronomical in the summer? Do they seem to be getting higher and higher, for some reason? Does the air coming from your unit sometimes seem lack a timid cool breeze instead of a cold blast that you need to cool your house?
There is no doubt about it, it can get stifling in Newtown, PA; air conditioning on some days is a must. But using the AC unit can definitely add up. Here are a few tips for how to solve the problem of super high AC bills while surviving the worst of the summer heat.
Look for Opportunities to not Turn on your AC
At night, when it is cooler, try opening a window. It cools down at night, after all, so why not take advantage of the naturally more comfortable environment. Using things like a ‘Chillow’ pillow – a pillow full of water that you can put in the fridge before you go to bed – is a creative way to cut down on running the AC unit all night.
Take Advantage of the AC Timer
It is a common myth that putting your AC unit on a low usage setting is a good idea to save energy. Simply turning it off when you are not using it does the trick. This will also save on wear and tear over the life of the unit. If you are gone during the day at work, then set the timer to turn on just before you get home to cool down your house, while it does not have to run when no one is around. If your thermostat does not have a timer built in, consider replacing it with something that is programmable for this very reason. If you have a window AC unit without a timer function, it is possible to manually make one with a simple plug-in timer that fits between your wall’s outlet and the AC’s plug.
Fans are Good
If you have ceiling fans or portable fans, these consume less electricity when the going does not get too tough. A bedside fan is perfect for the night, and can save a ton over time instead of putting on the AC throughout the night. Even small fans can generate a significant cool down effect, so do not shy away from buying a fan of any size that suits your needs, especially for the bedroom. Again, ceiling fans are especially useful, so think about investing in that.
Clean the Filter Regularly
A dirty filter essentially makes your unit less efficient, which means it has to work harder – suck up more juice – to produce the same results. This is a fairly straightforward affair: pick up a filter from your local hardware store – perhaps a permanent filter that you can simply rinse off instead of having to replace each time – and pop that baby in, remembering to check it every month or so. Do this more frequently during the months you use it more.
Find Cold Things to Cool you Down
This may sound totally obvious, but it is a good strategy nonetheless. An ice cold glass of lemonade can help regulate your body temperature to feel a whole lot better. In the heat of the middle of the day, it probably won’t be enough to make you want to abandon your AC just yet, but it can sure help. Also, ice packs are a great investment that you can use over and over during the hottest parts of the day to cut down on your Newtown air conditioning bills.
More is not Always Better
In order to maximise profits, many HVAC contractors will try to sell you a unit that exceeds the needs of your house’s cubic volume. Perhaps they are using outdated formulas, or are just less than transparent; whatever the cause, get a second and third opinion on how much heating and cooling you need with your AC or HVAC unit to make sure they are not pulling a classic upsell.
Water is Wet (and also cools you down)
A cold shower is not just energy efficient (since, as most people do not know, by far the biggest energy drain in a shower is the heater element required to make your water hot). There are few things better than a cold shower during the day. A bonus is that you will also feel clean after having sweat an inordinate amount in the Newtown heat of the summer. Results are best after a workout: perhaps a run in the park in the morning before things heat up too much, or a brisk aerobics class at the gym. If you do not want to go the full Monty, simply wiping your face and neck down with a few splashes of water can also do wonders for your body temperature. Standing in front of a fan or the AC vent afterwards, while your face is still wet, simply feels marvellous.
Wear Less, Cool Down
Tank tops are great options not just because they allow you to catch a little bronze on your shoulders, but because they allow your body to breathe a bit more easily. You have natural ventilation around the pits, an area that heats up quickly, and generally have less fabric insulating your upper body. Also, dampening your shirt might seem a bit strange, but it works wonders to dramatically cut down on body heat for those extreme those extreme summer moments.
Insulate your Attic
Depending on how old your house is, you can be losing a lot of cool air and have a rising temperature if your attic is not well-insulated. In fact, you can lose up to 40% of a house’s cool air if your attic is not up to snuff. According to some estimates, you can save between $100 to $150 every year, depending on the size of your house.
So there you have it. For Newtown air conditioning users, and for people in other climates that are similar, follow some of this advice to save big and cool down!