air conditionerIt's a momentous summer for me: This is the summer I ditch my old, gigantic, robot-sized air conditioner and install a smaller, more powerful AC. I was starting to get excited about this summertime life-saver when a horrible thought stopped me in my tracks: OMG, electric bill. I forgot. Every summer I get to watch my power bill reach astronomical heights during NYC's many epic heatwaves. Will this year be the same? 

Time to read up on a few energy- and money-saving tips for air conditioners!

1. Keep adjusting your thermostat. If you have central air, let your home get warmer during the day when everyone is out (for example). If it's just a little hot, set it so it's just a little cool. No need to blast the thing if it's not even that hot out. Don't consider that one ideal temperature a permanent number for the entire summer -- heat and cold are relative.

Air Conditioning2. Clean the air filter. A dirty air filter makes your AC run less efficiently, which means you're spending more money to run it.

3. Get the right-sized AC unit. Use Energy Star's guide to buy the right-sized AC unit for your room. A smaller unit will use less energy and cost you less.

4.  Get some shade up around your house. Planting trees, shrubs, and other shady plants near your windows will keep the sun from shining directly into windows. This will help keep your house cooler so you don't have to run your AC as much.

5. Invest in solar screens. These are screens that block out 70 percent of the solar energy from entering your house. They'll eventually pay for themselves.

6. Cool it in the kitchen. Avoid baking during a heat wave. I don't want to tell you not to cook, either ... but maybe try some lower-heat meals, like salads and sandwiches. The less heat you create in your home, the less you have to spend on cooling it.

7. Adjust the fan speed. On high humidity days, set the AC fan on low. The slower speed actually removes more moisture from the air. Set the fan on high on drier days.

Do you have any money-saving tips for running your AC?

 

Image via Renata Ganoza/Flickr