One of your biggest expenses during the summer is likely your electric bill; the hotter weather of the summer means more air conditioning set at lower temperatures. If you are using window units, which are notoriously energy gobblers, your bill may also be especially high. However, even a household with central heat and air and a heat pump can still experience significant increases in their electric bill in the summer. Not only is all this energy usage bad for your wallet, but it is also bad for the environment.
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are three ways you can go green, and save money, with your air conditioner this summer.
1. Whatever Type of Air Conditioner You Use, Have It Serviced
Before the summer begins, get an electrician to your house to service your air conditioner. This is something that needs to be done every year, so just make it a part of your annual household maintenance schedule.
You'll want the electrician to clean the coils and air filter. If any areas of your air conditioning unit are found to be damaged, the electrician will also make the repairs for you. Just by getting this annual servicing done, you will be ensuring your air conditioner is operating at optimum efficiency. An efficient air conditioner doesn't waste energy and will keep your electric bills down.
You can also make sure your air conditioner continues to operate at peak efficiency the entire summer by changing the air filter every month. The filters accumulate a lot of dust quickly, which makes your unit work harder and use more energy. If you've never changed a filter before, ask your electrician to teach you how at the annual servicing visit.
2. Use Less Air Conditioning By Employing Natural Cooling Methods
Even if you have a perfectly efficient air conditioner, it doesn't mean you have to use it round the clock the entire summer. There are lots of natural cooling methods you can use. According to TreeHugger.com, using ceiling or whole-house fans will move air around and keep you cool without the high electric bill and energy use associated with your air conditioner. You can also use light blocking shades on your windows during the time of day when light is shining through them at its brightest. This will keep individual rooms cool by keeping hot sunlight out of them. Use these shades on east facing windows in the morning, and on west facing windows in the evening to get maximum efficiency and natural cooling benefits.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Setting your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees warmer than usual is a big energy saver. However, it is sometimes a difficult thing to remember to do. You can solve this problem by buying a programmable thermostat. Just set it to keep the house warmer when you aren't home, and to cool it down a bit more while you are on your way home. You won't have to bother with setting the thermostat yourself, and you will no longer have to come home to a warm house and wait for it to cool off after you get there. Just this small change alone saves a lot of energy. In fact, it saves so much that it can reduce your electric bill by as much as $180 a year.
Saving energy is important for the environment and the future of our planet. Making these changes with the way you use your air conditioner will make a big difference for your children and the generations after them. You will also have more money in your pocket by having a lower electric bill in the summer. They're simple changes, but so effective. Implement them this summer and enjoy the benefits.