There are plenty of reasons to love the summer. It’s when most people plan their yearly vacations, host family barbeques, and enjoy long hours swimming or lounging by the poolside. But as the mercury rises, there’s nothing better than knowing you can retreat into your comfortable, air-conditioned home.
The trouble is – air conditioning bills can cost a small fortune if you’re not careful. But it is possible to stay cool without the big bills that come with it. Here are five tricks that will help save money on your AC bill this year.
Upgrade Windows to Keep Heat Out
Modern buildings do a pretty good job of keeping cold air out in the winter and warm air out in the summer. But in older buildings, some extra steps are necessary to maintain control of the indoor environment. And the best place to start is with the building’s windows.
If the existing windows are older, single-pane models, the best thing to do is upgrade them to newer, double-pane windows. Their thicker glass does a much better job of keeping heat out, and the air pocket between the panes slows down heat transfer to provide an added buffer. This one upgrade can save up to 18% on energy costs in the summer, and even more during the winter months.
Plant Shade Trees Around the Property
Even with brand-new windows helping to keep the heat out, there’s another trick that will make an even bigger dent in summer AC bills. It’s to use shade trees to keep the sun from heating indoor spaces in the first place. The best strategy is to plant tall trees on the southern side of the building, and shorter, broad trees in the east and west. This will block the low-angle morning sun as well as the afternoon high-angle sun, leading to a naturally cooler building.
Install a Low-Heat Roof
Another upgrade that can slash summer AC bills is to install a low-heat roof. A low-heat roof is made from materials that reflect the majority of the sun’s visible, ultraviolet, and infrared waves. And, they do a better job of radiating away any heat they do absorb than conventional roofing materials. According to a recent EPA study, cool roofs can yield a yearly net savings of 50 cents per square foot, making this a cost-effective upgrade that will save a fortune on air conditioning costs for the duration of the roof’s lifetime.
Use Ceiling Fans to Improve Indoor Air Circulation
One of the problems with air conditioning is that it relies on lowering the ambient temperature of an indoor space to make it comfortable – and that uses a massive amount of energy. That’s why raising the thermostat by just a few degrees can save so much money. But doing that can make an indoor space uncomfortable, which makes it an undesirable option.
But by installing and using ceiling fans – particularly on the upper floors of a building – it’s possible to stay cool while lowering AC usage. By increasing indoor airflow, ceiling fans will make it possible to raise the thermostat by as much as four degrees without a noticeable reduction in comfort. And because fans cost next to nothing to run compared to air conditioning, they create significant energy savings that show up in the form of lower bills.
Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
Air conditioning as we know it isn’t a new technology. It’s been around since at least 1902. And since then, the basic way the technology works hasn’t changed much. But it’s possible to bring air conditioning into the 21st century by adding a smart thermostat to control how it operates. Doing so can increase efficiency and lower the cost of operating just about any air conditioning system.
And the savings are significant. According to data collected by Nest and Ecobee – two of the leading smart thermostat manufacturers – this simple addition could lower air conditioning costs between 15 and 23 percent. That’s enough savings to make the devices pay for themselves in a single average cooling season. But that’s not all.
Because electric utilities benefit from decreased demand when customers use smart thermostats, many of them offer rebates that cover some or all of the costs of buying one. That means this is an upgrade that many people can do for almost no cost at all – making this the ultimate money-saving tip for anyone looking to lower their AC bill.
The Secret to a Cool, Inexpensive Summer
By putting these five money-saving tips to work, it’s possible to lower the costs of cooling just about any building, no matter how hot it gets outside. Any one of them can generate significant savings. But combined, they can drop a summer electric bill to unheard-of levels. And all without sacrificing any of the comfort that comes with staying cool all summer long. For this and other AC tips and tricks, consult with your local expert from here to air conditioning in the Gold Coast.