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10 Easy Tips to Save Pennies (and Dollars) on Summer A/C Bills

save money on cooling your home

Do you ever look at your energy bill and wish you could spend that money on something more fun? The truth is, no one really enjoys paying the utility bill, but everyone enjoys staying cool.

As more research is being done into living the most sustainable, energy-saving lifestyle possible, we can learn more ways to cut down on our energy use and still stay warm in winter and cool in summer.

If you'd like to trim your energy bills this summer without sacrificing all that cool, refreshing air, you will love these 10 tips!

Tip #1: Set your ceiling fan spin to "summer"

Did you know that most ceiling fans have two spin options—one for cold weather and one for hot weather? In winter, you want your ceiling fan to be rotating clockwise at a low speed. It draws the room air up and forces warm air gently down and out toward the walls.

But in summer, you want your ceiling fans to be rotating counter-clockwise. This forces the air down to give you a cooling sensation, or wind chill effect. The hotter it is, the faster the fan speed should be.

Tip #2: Give your HVAC unit an IQ increase

Perhaps you are at home most of the time, so you don't think using your programmable thermostat will really save you money. But you might be very surprised!

For example, just raising the temperature a degree or two at night (when it is cooler anyway) can save you valuable pennies that add up to dollars per month saved.

With a smart thermostat, you can raise the temperature when no one is home and when it is cooler out (such as in the evening). This way, you still have the cooler air when you are home and need it most, but you aren't wasting cool air, either.

Tip #3: Replace those air filters monthly!

Unless you have whole months when you rarely if ever turn on your HVAC unit, you should get in the habit of replacing your air filter at least once per month.

This reduces drag on your HVAC system when it is trying to blow clean, fresh, warm or cool air into your home. The more clogged your filter becomes, the harder your unit has to work and the more energy it will use to do the same job. You want it to be able to do its job without burning an extra kilowatt of energy so you can save your pennies.

Tip #4: Weatherstrip and insulate your home

Leaky windows, doors, crawl spaces, attics, and basement areas can let the cool air you just bought and paid for right out again, ushering in the warm air you are trying to keep outside.

Weatherstripping and insulating your home can make an immediate impact on the indoor air temperature and your energy bill. By sealing up drafts and air leaks wherever they are lurking, you will get your money's worth on every bit of cool air your HVAC unit pumps out.

Tip #5: Use your window treatments wisely

There are so many extras you can use today to keep the temperature cool inside your casa when summer temperatures hit. From reflective window film to heat-blocking shades, outdoor awnings to solar screens, your windows can turn from your enemy into your ally in keeping the hot sun outside where it belongs.

If replacing your windows sounds like a pricey project, start with window treatments instead. For best effect, concentrate on the east-facing windows that are getting direct sunlight.

Tip #6: Change out hot interior lighting

Some types of lighting generate a lot of heat. One of the best bulbs for energy efficiency and cool light is the CFL, or compact fluorescent bulb. As a bonus, they also use less energy and create less heat to light a space.

To find out which light fixtures are the biggest culprits, you can do the "hand test"—just turn on the light, wait a few moments, and put your hand under the fixture. If you feel a lot of heat, consider changing the bulb in that fixture.

Tip #7: Give your HVAC unit a tune-up

How long has it been since you had your HVAC unit professionally inspected and serviced? If your answer is "more than 12 months," it is time to give your technician a call.

This is important not only for your safety and that of your family (thousands of injuries and many deaths each year are caused by HVAC-related fires) but also for the sake of energy efficiency.

When your HVAC unit is clean, full of fluids, well-lubricated, and functioning to optimum levels, you won't spend an extra penny on energy to run the system.

Tip #8: Give your outdoor HVAC components some shade

In particular, your condenser/evaporator coils will draw less power when they don't have to work as hard. They won't have to work as hard when they have more shade.

So simply installing a canopy or awning over the exterior components of your HVAC unit can help you save funds.

Tip #9: Use energy rebates and tax credits when you make upgrades

If you decide to replace your current HVAC unit with an Energy Star-certified unit, you will automatically reap up to 20 percent savings on HVAC-related energy costs. But if you are eligible, you can save even more by applying at tax time for relevant available energy rebates and tax credits for making these improvements.

Tip #10: Invest in an energy protection plan

When you have your HVAC unit inspected and maintained, this is a great time to sign up for an energy protection plan.

With the regular inspection and maintenance service and 20 percent parts and labour discount that come along with an energy protection plan, your HVAC unit will always perform economically and to peak capacity.

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