Air Conditioning and Heating: Cheap Home Tips to Lower Costs
A few simple around the house tips to lower your air conditioning and heating bills
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In the hottest and coldest months, about 60 percent of the average homeowner’s energy bills comes courtesy of heating and cooling expenses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each degree you need to cool adds 7 percent to your energy bill. A number of simple tips to keep your home cooler can help cool those bills down and most cost next to nothing to do.
CURB THE COST OF AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING
Heating and Cooling Tips:
Insulation: The better your insulation, the less likely the air in your home will escape. Experts say attics are where air is most likely to slip away, meaning that may be where you want to start if you can’t afford to redo all your insulation. If you have an older home or a home that seems to use more air conditioning and heating than it should, consider replacing your insulation with fiberglass or cellulose insulation. It costs about $600 to $1,500 for the average home, but can reduce energy bills by 20 percent.
Seal: Gaps in air conditioning and heating ducts, even ones you barely notice, can leak air like a sieve. You can seal these cracks with expensive materials, but a cheap and easy solution is nearly as effective: masking tape. Contrary to popular belief, some experts say masking tape is a better insulator than duct tape. You should also consider sealing off leaks in doors and windows. Plugs for electrical outlets that aren’t in use can also lead to some savings.
Clean and replace filters: The U.S. Department of Energy recommends air filters on air conditioning and heating systems be changed monthly during peak use. These keep out dust, pollen, and other particles, but can cause an energy efficiency drop of 5 to 15 percent when clogged. Clean filters according to manufacturer’s specifications. If you have disposal filters, you can buy replacements at most hardware stores.
Block out the sun: Sunlight can heat up a home quick. Blocking it out is a simple way to naturally keep your home a few degrees cooler. Keep your blinds closed until the sun goes down. If you’re in an area that sees frequent and intense sun, you may want to invest in window tinting or mesh screens for the window, which block anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of heat created by the sun.
Avoid other heaters: Ovens, lights, and other electrical devices can heat up a home quick. Consider limiting your use of appliances that create heat. If you’re cooking something small, use a toaster oven. You may also want to use CFL light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs, which give off more heat.
Fan: Fans have been popular modes of cooling for decades. Ceiling fans can help curb the heat. Likewise, if you plan to be in one area for an extended period of time, consider a portable standing fan, including when sleeping.
None of these tasks should break the bank and all will lead to small savings on your air conditioning and heating bills. It may not lead to savings like a higher efficiency system will, but the savings will add up over time.