It’s widely accepted that one of the downsides of air conditioning is the cost of running the units. Whether you have a window air conditioning or it’s connected to your HVAC system, keeping the temperature and humidity at a reasonable level can be tricky and expensive.
Air Condition Maintenance should not be a hassle. Besides just avoiding your home and staying at a store or the library all summer there are ways to stay cool.
It can be difficult to stay comfortable in your home if it is too hot and humid. But finding the perfect balance between hot and cold is difficult because it’s a matter of personal preference and not everyone in your home is going to be in agreement on what the best temperature is.
While it seems like air conditioning is second nature, it was until the1950s that the technology had even been invented, much less in every home and vehicle. There are certainly ways to keep your costs down and these 5 hacks will help you do that so you can stay comfortable all year long.
1. Cut Back on Electricity Use
Since air conditioning uses a lot of electricity, the spike in an electric bill can be shocking if you have your AC blasting all day. Combat the higher bills by finding ways to save on your electricity uses in other ways.
One of the easiest ways to use less electricity is to change all of your light bulbs to LEDs. Incandescent bulbs not only put off heat that can warm your room up but they also require more electricity to run. LEDs will keep your room cooler and last a long time so you won’t have to replace bulbs as often, which will also save you money.
When it’s especially hot outside, don’t make your AC work harder by heating up the kitchen. By grilling outside or eating simple foods that don’t require heat to prepare them, (think sandwiches and salads) you can keep the internal temperature of your home cooler. This also means you should hang dry your laundry and not use your dryer which will also heat up your house!
Don’t just turn off electronics when they aren’t in use, go ahead and unplug them completely. Television sets and computers generate heat so by unplugging them you will cut back on adding any extra heat as well as keeping your bill lower.
Fans use less energy than air conditioning so be certain any ceiling fans are blowing the air down to help keep a room cooler. (This is reversed when it’s cold outside.) Having a good airflow will help keep the air-conditioned air circulating well through your home.
It is also a good idea to have a professional come and clean your air conditioning unit before you need to use it every day. Dirty air conditioners have to work harder to take in airflow which can cause them to wear out. They can also do a routine inspection to ensure it will be working soundly for the season and you won’t have to worry about your unit.
2. Use Your Windows to Your Advantage
During the day, once the sun is up, keep your blinds closed! The heat from the sunshine will also heat up your home and when you are trying to keep things as cool as possible every degree counts. Your home may be a little darker than you’d like during the day but when the sun is at it’s highest peak you’ll appreciate that your home won’t feel as hot.
After the sun goes down, you can turn your AC off and open up your windows to let the cool night air in. Getting a good cross breeze will help your home stay comfortable while keeping the costs down. Having the air conditioning turned off for a while will also help it to not overheat or burn out from running constantly.
Keeping your windows closed up during the day will trap the cool night air in your home and help you not need the air conditioner to run as much. Experimenting with airflow can be really beneficial as well. If your home is really uncomfortable try turning a box fan pointing out, to help suck all the hot air out of your house.
3. Use Your Body’s Cooling Methods
By keeping your air conditioning set at a slightly higher temperature you can keep yourself from being truly miserable without sacrificing the energy costs too much. An indoor temperature of 78 degrees seems to be a pretty standard recommendation for when your air conditioning is needed.
Remember that the closer the outdoor temperature is to the temperature inside your home the less your AC unit will have to work and the lower your utility bills will be. If 78 degrees sounds like that’s too warm for you to handle consider trying to cool off in other ways before touching your thermostat.
Drink a lot of water! Hydration is important all the time, but especially when it is hot outside. Bodies are designed to sweat to keep cool and regulate body temperature, and if you are not properly hydrated you will not be able to sweat effectively to keep cool. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day, more if you spend time outdoors.
You can also get evaporative cooling benefits from taking a cool shower. Don’t think the coldest water you can handle is going to help you stay cooler in the long run. It may feel great while you’re in the shower but because cold showers increase your circulation you will actually feel warmer once you get out of the stream of water.
A cool shower, however, will help your body cool off immediately and offer you the chance to experience some evaporative cooling as well. There are also evaporative cooling towels on the market that may provide relief on the hottest days, these towels stay dry to the touch and are a popular and inexpensive way to stay cool without cranking the air conditioning.
Putting an ice pack on your pulse points, like your temples, wrists, inside of your elbows and knees, for instance, will help you cool down quickly and provide some relief while you wait for your body temperature to regulate.
4. Update Your Landscape
If possible, use nature to help your home stay cooler by keeping your home in the shade. Especially to help block east to west-facing windows, a large tree can keep your house from getting as much sun and therefore heating it up. Even having a trellis with vines can keep your house more insulated, which will also benefit you when it gets extremely cold.
Even making sure your air conditioning unit is in the shade can help it run a little less and it will also be less prone to overheating. (A real risk in the height of the summer heat.) Don’t forget to take into account that trees and shrubbery will grow larger every year so take into account their root system and don’t plant them too close to your house to avoid future damage.
5. Use the Freezer!
Besides just a place to store ice cream, though that is a great snack to help your mind feel like it’s cooling off just a little, you can store other things in the freezer to extend their lives and stay cooler in the process. Makeup, lotions and aloe vera gels can help you cool down when they are used after being n the freezer.
You can also throw your bedsheets in the freezer for a while before you plan to fall asleep. While your body heat will eventually warm the sheets up the chill they’ll provide might help you fall asleep comfortably before your body temp keeps up.
Following these hacks can help your air conditioning running smoother during the hottest months of the year but keep your home cool in the meantime. No one is suggesting you go without air conditioning like our ancestors, but if you start the season with your air temp set higher you can adjust to a new normal and won’t feel as hot.
Staying comfortable is easy to do and you may even cut down on your if you put a little effort into keeping your windows open or closed throughout the day for maximum energy benefits. No matter how you beat the heat, these tips will help you stay cooler!