With the seemingly endless rise in utility rates, it is hard to imagine keeping your air conditioning bill lower than it was last summer. However, it can be done. The key is not simply sweating out the summer with the air conditioner turned off. With a bit of work, you can make your house more comfortable this summer and for years to come with breaking too much of a sweat. In fact, a little work this summer can mean lower cooling bills this summer, lower heating bills this winter and cleaner air to breathe in the process.
Things You'll Need
- Boston fern or other plant
- Light-colored, heavy opaque curtains
- Plastic sheeting
- Weather Stripping
- Ceiling or oscillating fans
- A programmable thermostat
Seal your windows and doors and generally prevent air flow into the house. Every winter, we are told that weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows will help prevent heat from escaping and will lower heating bills. The same principle applies in the summer. If you do not use a window for cooling, i.e. you never open the window to let in a breeze, consider leaving up the storm windows or adding a layer of plastic on the inside. Preventing the cool air from escaping or the hot air from slipping into the house can help lower your air conditioning bill.
Hang new drapes. heavy, but light-colored opaque drapes can also help you save money on air conditioning. Light colors reflect the sunlight and heavy fabric will help trap the sun's warming rays before they make it into the house and superheat your rooms. Heavy drapes will also add an insulating layer around the window, acting as a barrier between the inside and outside temperature. In the winter, this will also act as a buffer to keep the cold out, saving you money year-round.
Plant some trees. Creating shade around your windows will help create an insulating lawyer around the house, blocking out some of the warmth of the sun’s intense rays. Trees will also provide a wind break against more severe and cold weather, too. That means year-round savings on the electric bill!
Add a fan. Ever notice that it feels cooler when there is a breeze? That’s because the movement of air does have a cooling effect. A ceiling fan or oscillating fan will operate at a fraction of the cost of the air conditioner and allow you to turn the programmable thermostat up a notch or two.
Plant a fern. Evidence indicates that by transforming carbon dioxide to oxygen, a common house plant can reduce the temperature in a room with direct sunlight by as much as four degrees, meaning your air conditioner kicks on less and you save money.
Acclimatize yourself gradually to higher temperatures. By pushing up the thermostat one or two degrees over several weeks can let your body adjust to accepting a higher temperature as normal. Then, the body’s self-cooling mechanisms (that’s sweat!) will kick in and help you save energy. Be sure to drink plenty of water as the moisture we lose to perspiration must be replaced
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