Sweltering & Swearing at the Electric Bill? Take Control of the A.C. Pronto

canstockphoto48902867When the ‘three H’s” (hazy, hot & humid) come to town, you can run but you can’t hide from the oppressive weather.  Taking refuge in your air conditioned home is like nirvana after only a five minute trip outside.  Until, that is, you open your electric bill and faint at the sight.

Keeping a few key strategies in mind when it comes to controlling the AC will keep you from totally losing your cool and emptying your bank account.

Be intelligent about your thermostat whether it’s smart or not. Of the 118 million homes in the US, 87% have air conditioning.  About 40% our AC’d homes have a programmable thermostat. Stunningly, only 12% of home owners  actually use them!

It pays to Google your thermostat model and watch a YouTube tutorial to remind you how to adjust and program your ‘stat.  Cooling costs increase 5% for every degree you lower the temperature (in the attempt to create an igloo in your bedroom). That price tag snow balls pretty quickly.  You know you have some room to play if you typically set the temperature at 68 deg F. and then wear sweats around the house in July!


Another thing to remember: cool people not homes.  Turn your AC temp. higher when you go out. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on cooling and heating bills by turning the temperature setting 7 to 10 deg. F from its normal setting while you are at work. So much for the urban myth that you save money keeping the temperature in your home constant all day long!

Cool people, not rooms.  See a theme here??  Room ceiling fans come to the rescue! Using a ceiling fan allows you to raise the AC thermostat setting up 4 deg. F with no reduction in comfort.  By moving the room air over you, you get a “wind-chill” affect.  And when you leave, be sure to flip the fan switch off!

Don’t add insult to injury.  When the weatherman is talking up record breaking heat in your home town, and your AC system is barely keeping up, keep the heat-producing appliances off.  That means lights and appliances for sure, but the biggies are the dryer, dish washer, oven and stove.  Why pay to cool down heat that YOU are creating? When the thermometer reads in the high double digits, air dry your laundry (it will be done in a jiff); run the dishwasher over night AND only when completely full; and grill outside or use the microwave instead of the kitchen oven and stove.

Still need relief? How about a cold shower?? That does the trick every time. 😉

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