Beat the heat – and your air conditioning bill – this summer
Did you know that, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE), Americans spend approximately $11 billion annually on air conditioning? It might not be such a surprise if you’re the one who writes the check for your household’s utility bill each month.
Believe it or not, you can spend less on cooling costs while staying cool in New England. Here are five things to do before you adjust the thermostat:
- Make sure your house is not part of the problem. If your home isn’t insulated and sealed well, warm air can leak in, sabotaging your efforts to cool things down. Make sure all cracks and openings are sealed, along with your ducts. The DOE says air loss through ductwork can account for 30 percent of the energy a cooling system uses.
- Keep that wind flowing. Natural ventilation is an excellent way to lower the temperature in your home without using any energy. Open windows in the morning or evenings when the air is cool and get a cross wind throughout the house.
- Check that the heat is not on. You may be heating your house in the summer without realizing it. How? By using the oven, stove or other appliances that generate heat. Cook outside when you can, and use the dishwasher and dryer at cooler times of the day if possible.
- Create your own personal cool zone. Cooling the whole house may not be necessary if you only use a few rooms. Turn on fans (ceiling fans allow you to set the thermostat a few degrees higher), drink plenty of cool liquids, and eat cold foods, which can help lower your body temperature. You might even consider wearing a damp shirt to keep you comfortable or putting an ice pack on your forehead, neck, or wrists.
- Don̵7;t forget the basics. When it’s sunny outside, keep the curtains closed. Minimize your use of lights, as they generate heat. And when the outside air is warmer than the air in your house, close the windows to keep the cool air inside.
We can’t promise that these tips will keep you as cool as when you kick back and crank the AC full blast—but will you save money every month? It’s pretty cool too.