Cooling and heating your home take up a huge percentage of your total energy costs. For many homeowners, getting electricity or gas bills that hit a few thousand dollars every year hurts, but it’s something that they have to live with. After all, no household can get by without air conditioning, especially in parts of the country with extreme summers or freezing winters.
Then again, while we can’t really stop energy costs from rising, there are many ways that we can strike a few dollars of our energy bill, and they don’t involve costly measures like replacing your AC and heating system (unless it’s very old) or spending thousands replacing your windows with double-paned glass. Here are some incredibly easy ways to save money on your AC and heating bill.
1. Let the sunshine in or keep it out
The sun still does shine during the winter, so let its rays in by keeping the curtains or drapes open during the day especially on the south side of your house because that’s where you can get more direct sunlight and the heat that comes with it. When night falls, close the curtains to keep the heat inside. If there are trees or shrubs around or near your windows, trim them so they won’t block precious sunlight.
In the summer, however, those trees and shrubs can provide shade that can help keep your home cool even during the hottest days. Drapes, curtains, or blinds should also be closed to shut the sun out and make your air conditioner’s job a lot easier, which definitely converts to energy savings.
2. Dress appropriately at home
Energy savings can come through something as simple as the clothes you wear at home. When it’s hot, wear shorts and sleeveless undershirts. When it’s freezing, dress in layers, wear a bonnet or a hat, and wear warm socks or slippers. That way, you won’t have to tinker with your thermostat that much. You can keep it at a constant level that’s comfortable enough without adding a few more dollars on your energy bill.
3. Keep your AC filters clean
Dirty air filters are often blamed for most air conditioning breakdowns. They also are often the culprit for higher energy bills, since all that dirt makes the blower fan and cooling system work harder. Ideally, filters should be cleaned or changed every month during the summer, and you don’t need to hire an AC professional to do it for you because they’re easy to take out and clean.
4. Keep electric lights off in the daytime
Keeping the lights off during the day can save you money on energy costs, and not just because they’re not running and therefore not consuming electricity. When turned on, electric lights give off a lot of heat, especially if those lights are of the incandescent variety. Unless you really need to use them during the daytime, refrain from turning those lights on to help your air conditioning unit cool the house more efficiently.
5. Prevent excessive heat buildup during the day
When it’s a hot summer’s day and your AC is at full blast, you’re not doing you cooling unit any favors by cooking, running the clothes dryer or dishwasher, or operating big-screen TVs and computers indoors. All these appliances cause a lot of heat buildup and contribute to making a room hotter despite the efforts of your air conditioner.
If you can wait for night to fall before running any of your heat-generating appliances, the better off you’ll be. If you have to cook, do it outside, but if you can’t stand the heat, you can always put up with microwaved food at least until the hottest days of the summer are behind you.
6. Put your ceiling fans to good use
More often than not, ceiling fans in homes are often ignored. What many people fail to realize is that ceiling fans offer you a lot of advantage during both the winter and summer months, as they can give you better control over the heating or cooling of your home. That is if you use them strategically to achieve better airflow.
During cooler months, a ceiling fan should spin clockwise at low speed to pull cool air up and push down the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling to make a room feel warmer. In the summer, ceiling fans should run counterclockwise to push cool air down and make everyone in the room feel cooler without tinkering with the thermostat.
7. Don’t heat or cool unused rooms
You are wasting a lot of cooled or heated air if all vents to all rooms are open when your AC or heating unit is running. If your home has guest rooms or large storage areas that rarely see any use, close off the vents there to direct airflow to rooms that are frequently used and save a lot of money in the process.
8. Keep your hands off the thermostat
For most people, not tinkering with the thermostat is easier said than done. However, if you’re serious about energy savings, you are going to keep the thermostat at an optimum setting, and not any higher or lower. You’ll be surprised at the amount of money you’re going to save if you just leave the thermostat alone.
There are other ways to save money on your cooling and heating bills like investing on better insulation, hiring professionals to clean the vents, and so on, but they take some time, effort, and money to implement. The tips above, on the other hand, are easy to do and barely cost you anything, and should be enough to shave a few dollars off your energy bill.