The Summer Money Monster: Air Conditioning

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It’s anticipated that this summer we will experience record high temperatures across the nation. Being comfortable and keeping your house or condo bearable can be a real budget cruncher. In a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy, consumers spend 7% to 14% of their income on utilities, and in this area summer cooling accounts for a large portion of that. While we can’t ignore the need for staying cool and constantly running fans and air conditioning during the summer – we can be smart about how we use electricity and help lower our bills. 6 SIMPLE TIPS TO LOWER SUMMER ENERGY BILLS Americans spend more than $24 billion a year on air conditioning (according to the U.S. Dept of Energy), that’s 70% of your power bill from this energy sucking monster. Heat can be uncomfortable and in some cases extreme heat can be unhealthy and even dangerous – but how do you beat the heat and still not break the bank with what you spend for air conditioning? Here are a few simple fix’s to be more efficient with your cooling or cut your usage drastically:

  1. If you are not home, leave it off – or at least set the temperature at a higher degree than if you were home. Many of us were led to believe that turning the air off and then on again caused more energy usage and was a bad idea. The truth of the matter is you can save a lot of money by reducing the use of something that you’re not even there to use. There are climate control units you can now install that you can turn things on remotely so it’s cool when you walk in the door. But whether or not you invest in something high end or automate your system – you can turn it down when you leave for the day (or even a few hours).
  2. Replace the dinosaur window unit.  Believe it or not there are still folks who have the old fashioned window units in their homes. Most of us have replaced those units in the last few years – but if not – there have been lots of advances with efficiencies in the HVAC business. All kinds of options are available with many companies offering free energy audits. Obviously they are looking to sell their product so be careful you hire someone who’s either referred to you or that you know to be above board.
  3. Clean that dirty filter!  It used to be recommended to change our filter once a year (like when daylight savings time hit). Now we’re being encouraged to not only change the filters twice a year but to also have our cooling units serviced that often. With the mold concerns that we have in the South – it’s a good idea not only for efficiency but for overall health!
  4. Let the fresh air in.  Unless you suffer from severe allergies and can’t bear to have the windows open, opening up the windows in the early mornings and evenings can save you a lot of money. Naturally cooling down the house is always better. For those lucky ones who live on the beach that salt air is really good for your health and should always be encouraged to flow thru your home.
  5. Fan yourself for a few dollars.  Ceiling fans can help keep the air flowing and create a nice cool breeze. Floor and ceiling fans also use less electricity than the air conditioner; therefore reducing your electric bill. Pulling the drapes and shades before you leave in the morning will also help keep the cooler air in.
  6. Window Film / Tint: We often think of window tint for our cars and know the value of reducing the glare and heat in our vehicles. But many aren’t aware that you can do the same for your home. If you’ve ever had furniture or flooring faded by the suns rays you are aware of how much damage the sun can cause. UV protection window film for your home is one of the most effective ways to reduce the heat coming into your home thereby reducing your Air Conditioning bill this summer. The film blocks over 95% of the sun’s heat keeping your home or business much cooler in the summer. You can get any degree of darkness you like from clear film to 100% blackout. Most people go with 30% tint to provide a nice look to their windows and block out the glare without effecting the view. Be aware that living in an area with salt air only a small percentage of window films are certified to not corrode. Always ask about guarantees and product warranties from your professional window tint installer.

We’re not saying to completely turn off your air conditioner and suffer thru the heat. We just wanted to give you a few ideas on how you can save money and energy this summer. We want you to be comfortable and have more money in your pocket by helping you to control your utility bills. If you have any other tips you’ve found useful – we’d love to hear them! Have a great Summer! Aloha!

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