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Trimming Air Conditioning Costs
When the temperature starts to climb, you are very glad your home has air conditioning – until you get your electric bill. But staying cool doesn’t have to break the bank. Experts give some tips for trimming the costs of staying cool.
First, get your central air unit serviced by a professional at the beginning of every season. That not only can save money, but it also can help keep your unit from shorting out and causing a fire, or from dying right in the middle of the heat wave – when you might have to wait days for a repair or replacement.
Also, change your filters according to your manufacturer’s directions. Your unit has to work harder to move air through a dirty filter, and that adds to your bill and subtracts from your cooling.
Leave the air on, even when you are not home. If you turn your unit off in the morning when you leave for work, your house can get very hot during the day. Then when you come home, your A/C will have to work extremely hard and probably won’t ever get your house to a comfortable temperature before you leave again in the morning -- and the cycle starts all over again.
However, use a programmable thermostat to turn the temperature up somewhat during the day. Program it to turn it down before you get home, so that you walk into a cool house.
Use fans liberally, even with your central air. And not just ceiling fans, but also regular fans. Moving the air around lets you feel cooler, even if the air is not as cool, so you don’t have to keep your A/C set so low. And fans cost a lot less to run than your air conditioning does.
Close shades and blinds in your house during the day to keep the sun out. This can make a significant difference in the temperature inside, especially if you have a lot of sun exposure.
Try not to generate any additional heat during the day. Don’t bake, run the dishwasher or dryer until evening, for example. And keep your house closed up tight – don’t leave the door open while you go out to your car for groceries or to the yard to check on the kids.
Keep your thermostat set as high as possible – aim for between 72 and 78 degrees. This is where those fans can come in real handy.
If you have a room that is difficult to cool, or if you want your bedroom or another room to be exceptionally cool, consider putting a window unit in that room for some extra cooling oomph.
And remember, this too shall pass. After all, when you were freezing last winter, didn’t you long for the summer heat?