We're now entering the hottest part of the summer here in the United States and many of us are faced with a difficult decision. We can stay cool and dry in our homes but end up paying for high electric bills due to the cost of running our air conditioners all the time. Or we can skip the AC and live in hot and humid discomfort for a couple months out of the year while we hope for cooler weather.
If you're struggling with paying your electric bill to keep the air conditioner on this summer than take heart, here are a few simple and inexpensive ways you can help your air conditioner work less and keep your home cooler:
Use shades on windows and doors: Sunlight pouring in through your windows can warm your home like an oven, especially in the long sunny days of summer. You'll be amazed at how much cooler your home can be with the strategic placement of a few light-blocking shades over your sunniest windows. Regular shades or curtains aren't going to cut it. If you can hold your window covering up to the sunny sky and see ANY light coming through, then it isn't a true light-blocking covering. Most light-blocking curtains actually have a thick liner, sometimes plastic and sometimes made out of cloth. You can keep your regular decorative curtains in place, just be sure to also use light blocking curtains between your decorative curtains and the window. Close them during the sunniest part of the day and your home will stay much cooler.
Clean your air filters: Whether you have a central air conditioner or window AC units, you have to clean or even replace your air filters every so often to make sure you have a consistent flow of cool air. A dirty air filter can block air from being blown by your air conditioner. If your air filter is really dirty it could actually cause your AC blower to overheat or cause your air conditioner evaporator coils to freeze over. Both problems can damage an air conditioner and be costly to fix. You'll want to check your air filter once and month and follow the manufacturer's instructions for ways of cleaning or replacing the filter on a regular schedule.
Seal and insulate: One way to keep your home cool is to make sure you're not losing any cool air from your air conditioner where you shouldn't be. No matter what kind of air conditioner you have you can inspect all your windows and doors and make sure you don't have any drafts or gaps where cool air is seeping out. If you have window units you may want to make sure they are held tightly and have no gap around their mounting hardware. If you have a central AC unit then you'll want to inspect as much of the metal ductwork as you can, using foil tape to seal up any pin holes or gap that may have formed over time that let out precious cool air. You may also want to close the air duct registers and doors in rooms you don't use so that your air conditioner doesn't have to try to cool those rooms too.
Any single one of these methods will help keep your home interior cool and help your air conditioner keep up this summer. When combined using these cooling tips can really help you save money on your electric bill this summer!
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