Save Money While Cooling Down Your Home

Save Money While Cooling Down Your Home

Save Money While Cooling Down Your Home

Savings (MP) Are you trying to cool down your house and save money too? Sure you are because we Americans spend about $11 billion per year keeping our homes cool with air conditioners. And “heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home — typically making up about 48% of your utility bill,” according to energy.gov.

Last month’s average temperatures nationwide were the second highest ever recorded, and July has demonstrated no signs of relief. The hot weather already has many big utility companies raising customer rates. And that has experts touting we could see our highest utility bills ever, this year. Though it’s tempting to crank the AC — you may first want to find out how to save money while keeping cool. It turns out there are many ways to buffer your home from the heat without racking up a high electric bill.

Fortunately, by following some money saving tips at home this summer, you can cool off, save money, and make a huge dent in the carbon footprint. Let’s look a few ways to cut our energy bills

Save money by replacing air filters

Experts say you need to replace your air filters every thirty days, especially during the summer if you want to save money. The natural flow of air through an air conditioning system deposits dirt, which collects on coils and blowers. A buildup causes the air conditioner to work harder, which burns up more energy. The system might run longer than normal as it strains to support the home’s temperature at desired levels. The extra energy needed to run the system increases cooling costs.

Save money by cooling down your bed

Want more energy savings! Stop running your air conditioning all night, it’s the quickest way to a big energy bill. Instead of turning down the temperature on your thermostat, consider acquiring a bed fan or a Gel’O cooling mat. Bed fans are special bed-height units that send cool air between your bed sheets, using far less energy than central air or a wall unit. Cooling mats use advanced semi-conductor technology, that enables you to adjust the temperature of your sleeping surface and fit any standard or extra thick mattress.

Buy A Smart Thermostat

By using thermostats incorrectly could well be costing you guys big money. However, smart thermostats like Nest try to save you money by reducing your heating and cooling costs. These magic machines learn your daily schedule and turn the heat down when you aren’t at home, and, on the flip side, they have everything all nice and toasty when you get back from work (vice versa with cooling in the summer too).

In a new white paper, Nest said that based on data it gathered from homeowners from before and after they installed the smart thermostat, the savings averaged out to 10 to 12 percent for heating bills and 15 percent for cooling bills. This company estimates customers saved an average of $131 to $145 a year. The Nest Learning Thermostat device costs $249, so it pays for itself in about two years, the company says.

Save money the old-fashioned way

A regular attic fan uses electricity, but saves money at about 10 percent on air conditioning costs by keeping your attic (and, as a result, the living space below it) cooler. Solar-powered attic fans have a higher initial cost.

A ceiling or portable floor fan will cut your energy costs if you have central air conditioning — if you raise the thermostat setting. For every degree you turn it up, you will cut 7 to 10 percent from your cooling costs.

Using a whole-house fan  — instead of air conditioning — when the temperature cools off in the evening and early morning hours can save money on energy costs. Not only does a whole-house fan cost less to run than air conditioning, but it can cool a house down in just a few minutes, after the outside air temperature has decreased.

Save money with Radiant Barriers

Once you learn about what radiant barriers are and what they can do, I promise you that you will never look at a house the same way again. Radiant barriers aka reflective insulation – reflect heat away from your home. So, if you live in a region with extreme hot temperatures, updating your home’s insulation with RB’s is a great way to save money. It’s basically, a highly reflective material, usually bonded to a flexible backing. Imagine the shiny side of aluminum foil on a material that doesn’t tear so easily.

Essentially, radiant barriers work the same regardless if you live in a cold or warm weather climate, but serves a little bit different purpose in each. To understand how radiant barrier works in cold weather climates, you first have to understand the three different types of heat escaping from your home. The three modes of heat transfer are: conduction, convection, and radiation.

Traditional insulation materials slow conductive and convective heat flow, but do not account for radiant heat that travels through your roof and into your home. Radiant barriers are easiest to install in new construction, but can be installed in your existing house, especially if it has an open attic. Studies show that radiant barriers can lessen cooling costs 5% to 10% when used in a warm, sunny climate.

Some companies make wild claims of 30%-50% savings by installing radiant barrier foil insulation. Don’t believe every claim you hear; “Normal” savings are usually in the 10-25% range with some cases up to 30% or more.

Tell us some of your tips to keep things cool around the house? Share with us in the Comments or on Twitter!

Don Briscoe
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Don Briscoe

Finance educator, advisor, and leading voice in the global financial literacy movement.Founder and editor of MoneyPacers.com.He lives and enjoys life with his family in New York.
Don Briscoe
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