Break out the popsicles, BBQ and bathing suits! The heat is already creeping up in some parts of the country, which might send you running indoors for a refreshing blast of cool air. But keeping your home a cool oasis can send your utility bills skyrocketing. Check out this list of options to help keep your home cool while saving on utility costs.
Adding insulation to an attic can be one the biggest bangs for your buck when it comes to regulating indoor temperatures and making you more comfortable in your home. Not having insulation means heat is seeping into your house and your air conditioner is having to work a lot harder to keep your house cool.
Plant trees strategically
Planting trees near west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest, will help shade your home’s exterior. Choose trees that are native to your area for less maintenance. If possible, choose trees that leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, because they provide shade in summer and allows the sun to warm your house when temperatures drop in the fall. Check for trees that are appropriate for your region or discuss local options with a Lowe’s nursery associate.
Make sure you select an A/C unit that is correctly-sized for the room. An oversized air conditioner is less effective and wastes energy. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air and if the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity and leave your space with a damp feeling. Look for an ENERGY STAR certified air conditioner; they use 10 percent less energy, and on average, cost $68 per year to run. You can even get a smart A/C unit, so you can control it from the convenience of a smart phone or other device.
Smart thermostats are a cost-effective way to get your cooling costs under control – in fact, the EPA estimates that homeowners with programmable or smart thermostats save up to $180 in energy costs. Smart thermostats can anticipate your needs, rather than being reliant on you to make every adjustment to your cooling schedule. Over time, they learn your routine, habits and preferences, and can manage settings to suit your needs.
*Shopping tip: Lowe’s is offering a free Google Home Mini with any Google Nest Thermostat purchase. Offer valid through 9/4/19.
Look for a product like a thermal curtain that’s designed for cooling rooms – the goal is to keep the sunlight from spilling in through the windows so if energy efficiency is your goal choose a thicker curtain or something sheer. Lowes.com has an entire section dedicated to energy-saving curtains and with more than 1,300 options.
Clean or replace your air filters
In hot weather, your air conditioner filters are working harder than usual. You should replace AC filters every month, especially during peak season. This allows air to flow easily and the AC system to run more efficiently, which can result in saving on energy consumption. Make sure to find the right sized filters for your home.
Don’t forget your fan
Set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise during the summer to keep your cooler air flowing. But don’t forget to switch it back to a clockwise direction come winter, to keep the warmer air circulating.