If you live in an area that’s affected by brutally hot summers or year-round warm weather, odds are your AC is regularly put through its paces. While no one who resides in a warm climate should be without dependable air conditioning, running your AC around the clock can put a tremendous strain on your finances. Fortunately, minimizing AC use in your home is neither difficult nor costly. Homeowners looking to give their air conditioning a break and save money on cooling costs would do well to consider the following measures.
Install High Quality Ceiling Fans
Dependable ceiling fans can work hand-in-hand with your AC to provide you with a nice, cool home. Good ceiling fans will effectively circulate cool air throughout your entire house, thereby taking some of the heat off your air conditioning. Additionally, when combating brutally hot temperatures, take care to set your fans to rotate counterclockwise, as this will create a soothing artificial breeze. In the interest of maximum safety, make sure your fans are turned off before you proceed to adjust them. As an added bonus, purchasing a ceiling fan with lights can help you illuminate key areas of your home without the aid of lamps and other common lighting fixtures.
During certain parts of the day, your ceiling fans can even take over cooling duties from your AC. For example, if the temperatures in your area drop quite a bit after the sun goes down, you may be able to simply shut off your air conditioning, open some windows and let your ceiling fans distribute cool outdoor air throughout your home.
If you enjoy spending time on an outdoor deck or patio, consider investing in a good outdoor ceiling fan. While it’s always great to relax outdoors, extreme temperatures and harmful UV rays can make spending time outside an arduous undertaking in certain climates.
Invest in Windows That Are Conducive to Cooling
Unbeknownst to many homeowners, a fair amount of cool air regularly escapes from their windows. As long as windows are closed, people often assume that cool air has no consistent exit route. However, since most traditional windows contain only a single pane, they’re generally not the most reliable tools for keeping cool air inside and the warm air outside. With this in mind, make a point of exploring your window options, as you have a lot more choices then you may think.
Some windows come equipped with special UV-resistant coating, which can prove useful at preventing the sun’s rays from entering your home. Additionally, many energy efficient windows contain multiple panes, making them ideal for sealing in cool air. Unsurprisingly, these windows tend to cost a bit more than traditional ones, but the money you’ll save in cooling costs should more than make up for this.
Switch to Blackout Curtains
To a small extent, traditional curtains and blinds can help prevent UV rays from entering your home. Still, if your home is located in an area that receives a substantial amount of sunlight, regular window coverings may not be enough to do the trick. This is where blackout curtains enter the picture. As the name suggests, these curtains are designed to block out sunlight, and when hung properly, they can be extremely effective. In addition to helping prevent cool air from escaping and keeping UV rays outside, blackout curtains can ensure that no area of your home becomes uncomfortably bright during daylight hours.
Furthermore, there’s no need to be worried about blackout curtains being unable to complement existing décor or being unpleasant to look at. Since they’re available in an extensive variety of colors and patterns – and are affordable on virtually any budget – there’s very little aesthetic (or cost) difference between blackout curtains and traditional ones.
For many of us, reliable air conditioning is an absolute necessity. Good AC is particularly important for people who live in areas that receive hot weather year-round. However, while air conditioning may be the most effective way to cool your home, it’s far from your only option. As anyone who’s lived in a warmer part of the country can attest, cooling costs can quickly pile up if you run your AC around the clock. By taking the measures discussed above, you can effectively reduce your home-cooling bills while still enjoying all the benefits of comfortably cool living space.