Beat Cooling Costs #2: The Little Things

Last week I wrote a post on home energy audits, whether done on your own with a checklist or conducted by a professional. If you finish that, I’m sure you’ll end up with a long list of home repairs, big and small, that could dramatically lower your cooling costs and make your home much more energy efficient.

If you haven’t done your home energy audit yet, don’t fret. I’ve made a list of other small changes you can make in your routine or living habits that can also make a huge difference over time. So while you wait for your energy auditor to show up or for the day you have time to be your own auditor, try incorporating these changes into the way you use energy and watch the bills lower.

  • Lay off the hot appliances during the daytime. Things that heat up the air like the oven, the dryer, and even the dishwasher increase the temperature in the room and make the air conditioner have to work harder. Saving some chores for the cool evening hours can actually make a different on your energy bill.
  • If you’re paying to circulate air around the house, why pay more to spin it in a dryer? Try a drying rack and let your AC do double duty.
  • Make the switch to compact florescent lightbulbs—just one can save $35 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. They also emit less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  • Use fans, but only when in the room. The breeze will make you feel cooler, so you don’t need to turn the temperature further down, but it won’t cool the room while you’re gone (it’ll just use electricity).
  • Program your thermostat to keep temperatures regular, and avoid drastic changes in temperature which are costly because your AC has to work a lot harder to change quickly. With a programmable thermostat, you can start your house cooling down before you come home from work, and avoid turning it way down when you walk in hot from the sunshine.
  • Lower your hot water thermostat by 10 degrees (but don’t go lower than 120 degrees) You’ll still get the water you need and you’ll save the energy of too hot water.
  • Make sure to turn the exhaust fan off in the kitchen or bathroom within 20 minutes of finishing your cooking or bathing.
  • Finally–and hugely–turn off your AC whenever possible. If you are wearing a sweater inside or have a thick comforter on your bed, think about removing those layers and turning the AC off (or at least up a few degrees). Avoid leaving doors or windows open to keep your cooled air inside, and keep windows covered with drapes or curtains to keep the heat from coming in.

Do you have any tricks you use to lower your cooling (or overall) costs in the summer? Comment below and share!


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