I would love a world in which we do not need air conditioning. However, there are many benefits for air conditioning including better sleep, mental health, and fewer disease spreading insects. People have advocated for more disruptive activities for fewer benefits. Unfortunately, air conditioning can be quite expensive. I know some who have bills over a hundred per month. That can be quite a luxury. That or you just have not prepared for a scalding summer. In this post I will give tips on how to save on air conditioning during 90 or 100 degree days.
Prepare Your Living Space
You know how scientists have been able to harness the power of the sun to produce electricity and how plants can use sunlight to produce sugar? That is because sunlight is a very powerful source of energy. That being said, not all of its energy is used for good (much like all energy). Every ray of sunlight that enters your abode is energy that can easily raise the heat.
You should do what you can to minimize extra sunlight. The simplest way to do that is with blinds and curtains. They can block out the light. In addition, curtains can act as a layer of insulation to keep out the heat ergo keeping in the cool. The same way that curtains can be used to keep heat inside during cold seasons.
Buy More Energy Efficient Bulbs
Speaking of energy from light, do you think light bulbs are any different? Even the most efficient light bulbs produce heat. If you still use incandescent bulbs, note they are among the most inefficient lighting sources. They are even heating sources for children toy ovens. You are baking your living space with these light bulbs. Granted instead of a few hundred degrees it would be more like 80 to over 100.
If your space is feeling too warm it may be your lighting, not the air conditioning, or lack there of. Incandescent bulbs use 90% of their energy for heat, meanwhile LEDs only use 5% of their energy for heat. Would you rather have light sources act as mostly (almost purely) a light source or a heat source, especially during summer? The answer should be a light source. Then you should switch all of your bulbs into LEDs. They now cost less than $5 a piece versus about a dollar for an incandescent bulb.
Oh and did I mention that LEDs last over 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs? And what about the energy saving from LED usage? It may be hard to determine if your electric bill is lower because you switched to more energy efficient bulbs or because your air conditioner no longer has to remove the heat your incandescent light bulbs create. Changing your light is a very simple change that can save you quite a bit on air conditioning.
Turn Up Your Refrigerator
Do you know the difference between a refrigerator and an air conditioner? The volume of the space being cooled and how cool the area is expected to be, pretty much nothing else. Air conditioners remove heat from your abode and force the heat outside of your abode. A refrigerator does the same thing, but it removes heat from around a cubic meter of space and forces it into its surroundings. In other words, your refrigerator removes the heat from inside your fridge into your abode. The more active your refrigerator, the more heat will be put into your living space.
You should turn your refrigerator as high up as possible while preserving your food so it does not output too much heat.
Rearrange Your House
If you want your air conditioner to run efficiently it should not be right next to heat sources. Your air conditioner will be more active near heat vents. If it is possible to move your air conditioner away from these heat sources you can save on air conditioning.
Some bedding sheets can hold heat better than insulating coffee mugs. Many sheets are so tightly woven they simply cannot remove hot air. Numerous people have issues sleeping and can wake up in a puddle of sweat even if they are not sick.
There are many sheets designed to be breathable so warm air is not kept. These include linen, eucalyptus, and bamboo. The Comfort Spaces sheets with Coolmax technology is my personal preference. The missus and I bought these sheets years ago. Not only do they keep very well, but the only time I have ever woken up in a pile of sweat was when I had the flu with a high fever. You will sleep much easier in these sheets.
I have brought this up in more detail with my post about saving on heating. Insulation is surprisingly inexpensive to install and costs only around a dollar per square foot in a house and labor costs only a few hundred. You will save immensely on not only your air conditioning bills, but your heating bills.
Buy Energy Efficient Air Conditioners
Your air conditioner is either your first or second most energy consuming appliance in your abode. Why not make sure it is efficient? Energy star rated appliances can save dozens or even hundreds each year in energy. My wife worked in electronics for a long time and claims she knows what the best quality brand appliances are. I am sure about that because she recommended Frigidaire for us. We have had it for 3 years, it works like a charm. So far her recommendations have held out.
There is a reason I recommend getting an efficient air conditioner after making your home more efficient. Trying to save on air conditioning by buying a more efficient air conditioner before improving the “efficiency” of your abode is like trying to solve your spending problems by making more money before solving your spending problems. In the end, your position does not change.
Furthermore, many of the previous tips will cost less money than a new air conditioner with the exception of installing insulation in some cases. However, every tip I previously mentioned is all but guaranteed to lower your air conditioning more than simply buying an energy efficient air conditioner.
Everyone who owns an air conditioner is trying to find ways to save on air conditioning. Most will recommend ways to save including setting the air conditioner higher or by wearing less around the house. I am not against the first, but if you are going to do the latter please DO NOT share that information with me. Besides, air conditioning is one of the greatest technological marvels of the world that have benefited people broadly, you should have it set to a temperature you are comfortable with. The problem is we thought we could just slap it in with what we had already and everything would be fine. We need to prepare residential areas to be air conditioned efficiently, not make air conditioners less active.