As you all know, the cost of air conditioning is not cheap. Anything that we can do to keep the cost down is well worth the time.
The best way to save on A/C is obvious. Don’t use it. With temps in the 90’s to 100’s and humidity in many places in the US, that is not really an option. Even here in the Northeast, the temps and humidity can eventually make us very uncomfortable.
We have not turned on our A/C yet but that day will come. Right now, when we have an 80 degree day, our ceiling fans take care of it. But only turn those fans on when you are under them. They don’t lower the temp. They just make you feel more comfortable. We also don’t open our windows if it is going to be hot and humid. If it cools down at night, we will open them to cool off the house and then close them up early morning.
In the summer, run your ceiling fans in the counter clockwise direction. You want that air to come straight down.
Close your shades, curtains and blinds when the sun is shining on them. I follow the sun around the house opening and closing what needs to be.
Don’t use your dryer on those hot humid days. Hang it outside.
When you do turn on the A/C, keep the temp at 78-79. We even kept it that temp when we lived in AZ. It was very comfortable. At night if you can set it up a degree or two without being uncomfortable, do it. Everyone’s comfort zone is going to be different.
If you only have a room A/C, choose what room you want that in. In the first year of our marriage, we lived in an attic apartment. It would get very hot. We put a big window fan in the living room window and it would keep the entire apartment pretty cool.
When we moved into our first house, we went without A/C for many years and then purchased a room A/C which we put in our bedroom. On very hot days, we would spend our time watching TV in there or in our family room which was in the bottom floor of our raised ranch and was the coolest place in the house. In this house and the two prior to this one, we have had central air conditioning.
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, install one.
We have vents in our unfinished basement and always keep them closed summer and winter. It would be a big waste of energy to heat or cool that.
Make sure to keep your a/c or heat pump in good running order by having it maintained at least once a year. Hose out the outside unit to get any bugs or grass or anything else that might get in there out.
Plant bushes or trees to shade the unit but not so that they interfere with it.
We change our air filter once a month to keep the air flow efficient. We use the cheapest filters(on the advice of our heat and A/C maintenance people) which I buy in bulk.
Rearrange any furniture that obstructs your vents. Our vents are in the floor in this house so we would never put any furniture on top of them or in front of them.
Keeping your lights off(they produce heat) during the day will reduce your A/C and your lighting costs. But keeping in mind closing and opening window coverings will also help significantly. So do what you have to in rooms that don’t have the curtains closed if you need light.
If you are not home during the day or are going out for a significant number of hours, turn the A/C up to 85. If you live in the northern states and you go away, turn the A/C off while you are gone. If you live in the hottest states, turn your thermostat up to 85 or more.
Insulate worn door and window seals. If your attic isn’t insulated, do it.
When you are building a home, make sure they put the thermostat on a wall that doesn’t have sun shining on it all day or not next to a hot window.
If you get hot with the A/C on, use the ceiling fans in
conjunction with the A/C. That will help you prevent turning the A/C down.
Don’t use your oven when the A/C is on. I cook outside on the grill or use small appliances on the patio or in the garage on rainy days.
I hope these help you stay cool. How do you stay cool? Please share with us your ideas so that we can all benefit from your knowledge.
7 replies on “Saving On Air Conditioning”
We do not run an air conditioner and it is very hot here. We make do with ceiling fans and open windows at night. Close them in the morning and then we stay in our basement.
That sounds like a great plan! Thanks for sharing Kim.
I use cross ventilation as much as possible. I know that when the sun goes down in the mountains it drops many degrees so I wait as long as I can and I can usually make it. I have a oscillating fan in the bedroom and a ceiling fan that helps at night (although that's when my hot flashes are the worst, I manage)
That is a great way to do it! We do the same at night! Thanks for sharing.
Hi AD, this is Chris, great article. I wanted to add a couple of things. First of all, depending on your neighborhood, the cottonwood trees will clog up your AC unit outside when they shed about this time of the year, so be sure to do your hosing down after they are finished. Hubby is waiting to do here. Second, if you do not have these, and your house layout permits, attic fans and whole house fans will really help cool your house, so research them and see if they make sense for you. We had both of these in former homes we have owned, and they made a real difference. Lastly, if you are in an old house, consider updating your insulation, windows and any old equipment to help with savings. All of these things that I have mentioned in this comment will help your comfort and/or help with your utility bills. We have experienced/done all of these through the years. We have also done a lot of the other things you have mentioned in this article.
Great suggestions! I can always count on you to share. I hope you have a terrific weekend.
Oh yeah, we did put attic fans in as well. Saving for windows