Staying cool during summer could account for half of your annual utility bills, especially if you’re using central A/C. Luckily, our tricks make it easy to save big!
Create a cool breeze with a savvy fan trick.
Running central air costs about $115 a month, while a fan is just a bit over $1! Simply use fans to create a cooling crosswind, which works especially well in the evening when the outside air is cooler. “Place one fan facing out a window to circulate hot air out of the house,” says Tony Case of TheHVACLab.com. “Then place a second fan facing in from a window on the opposite side of the house to draw in cooler air.”
Save 15 percent with an A/C timing tweak.
It’s easy to think you should crank up the thermostat when you’re not home, but that’s not the whole truth. “You want to stay within a five- to six-degree range throughout the day,” says Danny Lipford, host of Today’s Homeowner. “That’s because the A/C uses more power to change temperature than to maintain it.” Turning it up by five degrees when you leave the house will shave 15 percent off your bill and won’t overtax your A/C.
Curb humidity by running key vents.
A whopping 80 percent of the work your A/C does is removing humidity. Just run the vent in your bathroom when showering and the hood in your kitchen when cooking-the top sources of humidity in your house. Doing so can save you 25 percent. on your A/C bill!
Keep air flowing freely with a washable filter.
Keeping the A/C’s filter free from debris every month helps the unit work more efficiently. But instead of shelling out $10 each time for a new filter, consider investing in a permanent washable version for about $30 at hardware stores. Simply remove the filter each month, rinse it, let dry and put it back in your unit. In just three months, it’ll have paid for itself.
Extend the life of your unit by giving it breathing room.
Ensuring air flows easily around units helps them last longer and can save you up to 10 percent on cooling costs. The ideal “breathing room” is one to two feet of space on all sides and five feet above the unit. Overgrown brush is the most common obstruction, so just give bushes a quick trim to start saving instantly.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.