According to my research, it seems as though the average Canadian household spends about $500/year on cooling their home during the summer months. Think about all of the fun summer-time activities this money could be better spent on! By implementing a few changes in the way you do things this summer, you can reduce your impact on the environment while saving yourself a few bucks! Here is a list of some simple things you can do to reduce the amount of work your air conditioner needs to do this summer:
1) Replace the air filters responsible for keeping dust out of the duct system. Doing this about once every three months can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency.
2) Turn your thermostat up or off when you’re not home. There is a common myth out there that if you turn your air conditioner off and back on again when you return home, more energy will be utilized to get your home back to your desired temperature. This is not true! First of all, air conditioners work more efficiently when running at full blast as opposed to turning on and off again to slightly modify temperatures. Second of all, heat moves to fill cooler spaces. The more you cool your home, the more the outdoor heat will try to come indoors. If you turn the thermostat off, your home will reach a maximum temperature, at which the outdoor heat will no longer move indoors. If it’s 30 degrees outside, your house won’t reach 40 degrees on it’s on (unless you’ve left the oven on or something silly like that)!
3) Purchase a programmable thermostat. It’s easy enough to say that you’ll remember to turn up the temperature on your thermostat when you leave your home, but it’s also easy enough to forget! It’s a waste of energy and your own money to leave the air conditioning on to cool an empty house! Programmable thermostats tend to be more expensive initially, but eventually they will more than pay for themselves with the money you’ll save on your utility bill.
4) Increase the thermostat by a degree or two. This can lower your electricity bill by up to 10%, saving the average household $50 each year!
5) If it isn’t too hot out at night, open the windows (after shutting off the AC of course)! You can even set up a fan next to the window to blow cooler air in. It will use less energy than your air conditioner.
6) Just use fans in general! If you can bear the heat, avoiding the use of your air conditioner for the summer will save you hundreds of dollars each year!
7) During the day, close your curtains or blinds to keep hot solar energy out.
8) Believe it or not, shading your central air conditioner outside can improve its efficiency by up to 10%! There’s another $50 each year! Plant a tree or shrub strategically to shade the unit.
9) Dress accordingly! If you find that you’ve been turning up the AC because you’re sweating in those fleecy pajamas, maybe it’s time to invest in some new clothes! Don’t spend a fortune, but make sure you have a supply of shorts and t-shirts for the summer that you can change into whenever you get too hot.
These easy to follow tips can save you hundreds of dollars each year, and of course, reduce your negative impact on the environment. By making small changes in your lifestyle, over the years you will greatly reduce your environmental footprint and find yourself with a much larger budget for your summer spending!