Summer is here, and my friends are either complaining that their air conditioning doesn't work as well as they would like, or that their electric bills are going to be too high. Thankfully, there are a ton of things you can do to keep your house cooler and reduce the load on that AC unit.
Window CoveringsIn most cases, window coverings are the number one solution to keep your house cool. Current decorating doesn't always include heavy drapes like our grandparents had, and that makes it harder to keep the heat out of your house. Thermal blinds and curtains, kept closed during the sunny times, will make a huge difference in your home's temperature.
DehumidifiersDry air feels cooler than wet air, and dehumidifiers can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel in your home. For example, you might feel the need to turn the air conditioning down to 72 degrees if your house is very humid, but if you remove humidity from the air, you might be just as comfortable with your house at 76 degrees. Dehumidifiers come in a wide range of prices and use very little electricity, saving you money overall.
Take care of Your Outside UnitIn a central air conditioning unit, it is the part that is outside that is doing most of the work. Ensure that it has plenty of airflow by keeping plants at least several feet away. Have the unit thoroughly cleaned before the start of the hot season. Keep dust and debris to a minimum by ensuring that your dryer vent does not blow right on the unit.
FiltersForced air heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems typically have filters to clean the air and keep debris out of the working parts of the system. Filters must be cleaned or replaced regularly; how often depends on the type of filter. Follow manufacturer instructions so you don't overwork your system due to a dirty filter. If possible, provide shade for your air conditioning unit.
Window TintFor windows that are hard to cover, window tint can also help. Available in removable cling-type sheets, window tint can be found in home improvement stores.
Ceiling FansIf your house has ceiling fans, use them! Be sure that the fans are set to pull the air up, aka "summer setting." If you've turned the AC off, or it isn't working, window fans can make a huge difference.
Air Vents and ReturnsBe sure that none of your air vents or returns are blocked by furniture, toys, curtains, or other obstructions. Blocking these will increase your house temperature quickly!
LightingBe sure to turn off all unnecessary lights throughout the day. Swap out heat-generating incandescent light bulbs for cool compact fluorescent lights.
Plan Your Hot Activities
Plan ahead to perform heat-generating chores in the early morning hours. This includes baking, using an electric clothes dryer, and using the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher. Avoid using the oven for summer-time dinners. A slow cooker can be moved to a porch, basement, or other cooler part of the house.
Cut Electronic Heat
Power cords and electronics can generate significant amounts of heat. Unplug chargers when not in use to avoid extra heat being generated.
If you aren't already doing these things, try these tips to help your air conditioner work better and cut your cooling costs this summer. No one wants to spend all their money on AC when there are so many fun summer activities to enjoy