Summer is just around the corner, which means electricity bills across the state are bound to spike at any moment. In an attempt to beat the boiling Florida heat, people often put their air conditioners on full blast during the summer months, which consumes a substantial amount of energy. In fact, air conditioning and heating alone account for a whopping 46 percent of a home’s energy usage. As such, cranking up the dial on your cooling system can have a huge impact on your monthly energy bill. However, there’s no need to turn off your air conditioner and spend the summer sweltering inside just to save some money. Instead, consider implementing some of these best ways to reduce your air conditioning bill.
Improve your home’s insulation
One of the most effective ways to reduce your air conditioning bill during the summer months is to improve your home’s insulation. By upgrading your home’s insulation, you can prevent cold air from escaping your home. As a result, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep your home nice and cool.
When insulating your home, make sure to pay special attention to areas where a large amount of heat gain tends to occur, such as the attic or the exterior walls of your home. Types of insulation that are especially effective for preventing air flow into and out of a home include spray foam insulation and cellulose insulation.
Install a ductless air conditioner
Opting for a more energy-efficient air conditioning system is an obvious way to reduce your energy bill. If, like most homes, you’re currently using a ducted cooling system, it might be time to go ductless. Ductless air conditioners use considerably less energy than ducted systems. Rather than pushing air through ducts from a central location, mini-split systems dump cool air directly into the room in which they’re located for optimal efficiency. Plus, because they don’t have any ducts, air won’t escape through any leaks in the ductwork, which reduces wasted energy.
Properly clean and maintain your air conditioning system
Failing to properly clean and maintain your air conditioning system will make it run less efficiently and increase your energy expenses. When dust or other particles block your cooling system’s filters, your system will have to work harder to push air through. As such, replacing or cleaning your air conditioner’s air filters once a month is essential to reducing cooling costs. In addition to the air filters, you should also make sure to clean your unit’s evaporator and condenser coils to ensure optimal efficiency.
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In extreme financial hardship, you might have to consider extra control to only use air conditioning in certain sectors of your home. You might want to limit air conditioning to a home office room, where computers are running around the clock. Or you might want to limit air conditioning to a bedroom or two and the kitchen. Perhaps you’re enjoying the nice weather and are spending a lot of time out doors and not spending time in the living room. If you’re hurting financially, you might want block air conditioning in a large living room as much as possible.
Take a tip from grocery stores that only use a plastic sheet “door” that separates their employees-only large walk-in freezer from the rest of the store. In the grocery store, the plastic sheet keeps the cold air in the walk-in freezer, which puts less work on the cooling unit. For example, a plastic sheet retains the cold in the walk-in freezer, compared to a situation of no door at all, or a situation when someone forgets to close an existing door in a busy grocery store. It’s also safer to prevent employees from becoming accidentally locked inside the walk-in freezer.
In your home, you can avoid cooling unused rooms by shutting the vents and closing the door to the rooms. But what about unused hallways? You can shut down vents in hallways, and separate hallways with a clear plastic shower curtain lining. Decorate it with accompanying curtains if you want. Ultimately, any living area that you aren’t using, or where you can tolerate extra heat can be cordoned off by these dividers.
Block Sunlight’s Heat
Also consider using blackout window curtains where the sunlight puts a large heat load through a window. Blackout curtains impede most of the sunlight and heat that would otherwise transmit into your home. Be sure to check whether a package of blackout curtains contains one panel or two panels of curtains.