When a heat wave hits, you’re desperate. You’re willing to do anything to cool off, including pay an enormous price for air conditioners, which has (unsurprisingly) tripled since the temperatures began rising. It doesn’t help that heat causes mental exhaustion, which means you become a bit forgetful and unperceptive. These factors and more could mean you’re met with a huge electricity bill at the end of the summer.
Don’t let it happen to you! Here are energy wasting mistakes you should avoid making all year long, but especially during a heat wave.
1. Failing to use a fan
Ceiling and standing fans are not just wannabe air conditioning units. Fans are not meant to be placeholders until you can afford an air conditioning unit and ignore them. Fans are meant to be used with your air conditioning unit. Remember that, while fans do not create colder air, they do push the air in the room around. So if your air conditioner is creating cold air, your fans are working to circulate it around your home. Turning on a couple of fans could allow your air conditioner to work a little less hard.
2. Putting your AC in direct sunlight
You get hotter when you sit in direct sunlight and so does your air conditioning unit. When your unit feels hot, it works harder, believing the entire area is too hot. Keep your unit in the shade. And, while we’re on the topic of placement, put your AC unit somewhere central, near the most active human activity. Keeping it in a barely used room of the house means it has to work extra hard to reach the other rooms.
3. Keeping an empty house cool
It’s very nice coming home to a cool house, and with a smart thermostat, you can make sure that happens. But when you aren’t home, you don’t need to set your thermostat to the same temperature. Remember that human bodies create heat. But when no human bodies are present, you don’t need to turn your air conditioner on high to achieve your desired temperature. When you get home, you can turn up the power, because then you’ll be adding heat to the environment. Plus, why pay for wasted AC? If you aren’t home, you’re not enjoying the cool air, so don’t bother!
4. Getting the wrong size AC
Your eyes may be bigger than your cooling needs. When a heat wave hits, you might march into a store and demand they give you the largest, most powerful air conditioning unit they have. No sales representative is going to turn down the giant commission they’ll receive on that, so they’ll sell you exactly what you think you need. They may not do the responsible thing, asking you how large your place is, in what neighborhood you live (this could affect the temperature drastically), what materials your home is made of and more. Purchasing an AC unit that is too large for your home will result in the unit constantly overcooling your place, then needing to shut off to compensate, and turning back on. This does not result in an efficient use of energy and it means strange temperature changes on your end.
5. Setting the thermostat too low
If you get home and can’t stand the muggy, hot air, you want to cool down quickly. Let’s say your ideal temperature is 73 degrees. You might set the thermostat at 68, believing it will reach your desired temperature faster. In reality, it will shoot right past 73 degrees and cool your home down an extra five degrees for no reason (while still costing money). Set your thermostat at the desired temperature. It will get there just as quickly.
6. Cooking indoors
Along with being fun and creating tasty foods, outdoor grills can save you money on electricity! Cooking inside your home heats up your home tremendously. Things like ovens, toasters and kettles add quite a few temperature points to your already hot home, causing your air conditioner to work harder. Cook outdoors as much as you can to keep the heat from the grill away from your air conditioner.
All of these tips combined can save you tons during the hot months of summer. Don’t let them go by without seeing what you can do to prevent a major spike in your monthly bills.