How to Cut Your Cooling Costs

How to Cut Your Cooling Costs

Cut cooling costs And still keep cool

Staying cool is expensive. Even in moderate climates, it costs a few hundred bucks per year. In hot climates, that cost might reach four figures. So reducing cooling bills is worth some effort. And as a bonus, many of the steps that cut cooling costs also save on heating.

Keep cool with shade

Shade from trees, trellises and vines blocks direct sunlight through the roof and windows, which is responsible for about half of the heat gain in your home. Carefully positioned trees and horizontal trellises on the east and west sides can save up to 30 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling.

Feel cooler at higher temperatures

Ceiling fans save money by keeping you comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Each degree higher than 78 degrees will save you 5 to 10 percent on air conditioning costs. The moving air from a ceiling fan increases evaporation from your skin and helps cool you off.

Clean or change filters monthly

Dirty air filters are the No. 1 cause of air conditioning breakdowns and they cost about 7 percent more in energy costs in hot climates. Change central AC furnace filters monthly during the summer. Most window units have a removable filter behind the air inlet grille that you can take out and rinse monthly.

Install a programmable thermostat

This easy upgrade pays back quickly. Setting your cooling system four to six degrees warmer when you’re away at work or on vacation and automatically lowering it to 78 degrees when you’re home can cut 5 to 20 percent off your energy bill.

Replace an old air conditioner

Replacing a 15-year-old window or central AC unit with a new, efficient unit can save you enough over the new unit’s lifetime to offset its purchase price. This is especially true if you live in a hot, humid climate. Use the savings calculator to figure out whether it makes financial sense to replace your AC, and get a list of the most energy-efficient units.

Maintenance pays

A neglected air conditioner uses 10 to 30 percent more energy, so professional service every two to three years cuts cooling bills. Regular service also adds years to the life of the system and reduces breakdowns.

Block out the sun

Roughly 30 percent of heat comes in through your windows. Shades, curtains or tinted window film on south- and west-facing windows can save you up to 7 percent annually. Insulating curtains will save even more on both heating and cooling costs.

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