Staying cool is very expensive. According to statistics from the US Department of Energy, cooling represents up to 70% of the summer monthly home energy bill in homes in warmer climates.
It is therefore necessary to seek sustainable ways to reduce your cooling energy consumption in the long term particularly if you are living in an area with warmer climate.
Some of the ways to reduce your cooling energy bill include:
- Using a programmable thermostat
If you have a central thermostat that is controlled by a thermostat, you should use a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat enables you to determine the temperature set point on your air conditioner.
Here’s a good list.
With the thermostat, you should set the air conditioner to the highest temperature you are comfortable with during hot days. Giving up a degree or two helps you lower your bill considerably in the long term.
Timer thermostats also come in handy as they enable you to turn the air conditioner off a few minutes before leaving for work and on just before you get home from work. This helps you avoid wasting energy cooling an empty house.
Window air conditioners, despite consuming relatively less energy, also need plug in timers.
- Clean the air filter regularly
For both central and window units, dirty filters reduce the efficiency of an air consumer by increasing its load and causing it to consume more energy. It is therefore crucial that you regularly check and clean your filters.
Window filters get dirty faster and should be cleaned every month and replaced after at least every three months.
- Replace your old air conditioner
Traditional central air conditioners (15 years and older) use considerably more energy than newer ones. Newer models have higher SEER (Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratios) ratings than the older models. Newer models also have energy- saving features such as
By replacing a central air conditioner with a SEER rating of 10 with one with the recommended rating of 13, one cuts up to 50% on the energy consumption.
When buying a new central air conditioner it is important to keep in mind that bigger is not always better. Irrespective of its size, a good air conditioner should have an energy rating of 14 or higher for areas with warmer climate.
Air conditioners with good energy ratings pay for themselves in the long term in the form of a substantial; reduction in the energy bill.
- Using renewable energy to cool your home
Though relatively costly to install, solar micro-generation systems are easily sustainable in the long term. Solar energy, particularly in areas with relatively warmer climates would come in especially handy in cooling the house.
With utility companies helping with the installation and equipment, solar panels are easy to set up and maintain and come at no additional monthly cost after the upfront costs are dealt with. You can also manage your electricity usage so that less money is spent there. In some parts of the country, you can even choose your power provider. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas (among others) have deregulated their energy industries which allows companies to compete on price and services offered. If you are lucky enough to live in Texas or another deregulated state, take some time to compare your local electricity companies to find great rates and green products.
- Clothe your windows
Solar screens help intercept up to 790% of the sun’s rays before they get into the house. The US Department of Energy reports that solar screens are especially effective when used on east and west facing windows.
For as little as $15 you can get solar screens for your windows on Amazon.