Now that it’s the summertime, everyone is turning on the air conditioning to stay cool on the warmest days of the year. You know what that means…the bills are going to go up and we’re all going to have to pay more money to cover the cost of utilities. But, there are some easy ways we can save on air conditioning costs in Colorado. While the climate is typically cool and pleasant, there are some hot days ahead. Consider these ways to help reduce your use and lower your utility bills.
Ways to Beat the Heat Indoors
The heat is on but that doesn’t have to mean maintaining freezing temperatures indoors. Discover how to beat the heat without paying for a big chill.
Raise the thermostat
Raising the thermostat is a great way to save money and still stay cool. Each degree below 78 F will increase your energy use by three to four percent. Bumping the temperature a degree or two will definitely save you money and it will also conserve energy. Plus, you will still be able to keep your cool.
Use a ceiling fan
Fans can make you feel anywhere between three to eight degrees cooler and will allow you to dial your AC to a higher temperature and still feel just as cool. Plus, ceiling fans are an affordable option that can fit into almost any budget. They start out around $40 at your local home improvement store and usually cost little to nothing to run in your home. Fans with added features might cost more and consider how the fan will be installed. Overall, it is a minimal investment for a maximum return. On a cool evening, open the windows and turn on the ceiling fan to get rid of the heat and make the house feel cooler.
Make sure your ceiling fans are running correctly
If you do purchase ceiling fans, make sure that they are blowing down in order to send air past your body and remove the hot air that surrounds you. If your fan is blowing up, it will not be an effective way to cool off. In fact, it will actually move the warm air down from the ceiling into the living area and make this space feel hotter. All fans have a switch that will change the fan direction. It’s usually on the side of the fan between the light and fan blades. Also, get to know which direction is up and down for your fan. When you are standing under the fan looking up, counter-clockwise blows down, and clockwise blows up. You can easily check this by standing under the fan while it is running full speed.
Air Conditioning Units and Other Options
There are some other options besides air conditioning units that you can use to keep your house cool. For most people, air conditioning is the easiest and most cooling option available. If you decide to keep using traditional air conditioning, make sure you choose an efficient unit or system. Just as an example, Energy Star models use 15 percent less energy than other new models and up to 30 percent less than models ten years old. If your units have been around for over a decade, the time has come to invest in new ones.
A whole-house fan will move air through your whole house and an attic fan moves air only through the attic. Attic fans are less common than fans used throughout the house. Keep in mind if your attic isn’t properly insulated, the fan will be less effective at cooling off the house. Plus, if you normally use air conditioning, the fan could draw cool air from the living space into the attic. This only occurs if your attic access is not well sealed. It makes sense to have an energy audit done to find out if you have adequate insulation. This helps to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Getting an attic fan will help if your attic is insulated properly, if you don’t use air conditioning. An attic fan can help to reduce your attic temperature by 10 degrees or more. Ultimately, this can save up to 10 percent on air conditioning costs. Another option is a solar fan if a homeowner wants a main fan for the house.
Saving money and conserving energy
The summer is a good time to schedule a home energy audit. Assemble your utility bills for the past year for the auditor to review. Make sure all areas of the house are accessible, including the attic and basement. The auditor will check the level of insulation and make suggestions for the most effective ways to stay cool this summer without causing your utility bills to soar.
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