Vol. 10, Issue 4August 2018


Get the Most From Your Air Conditioning

This summer has been a hot one in most parts of the U.S. Air conditioners have been running, often rarely stopping, for months. And your electric bills probably have been rising too. But there are some things you can do to reduce the strain on your A/C and your bank account, according to

Cover your windows. Hot sun beating in through your windows can heat your house up in a hurry. So cover your windows, especially during parts of the day when the sun hits them directly. Use thermal window shades or drapes/curtains. Close the shades or drapes when you leave in the morning. If you are home all day, close them when the sun starts to come in.

Find out where the heat gets in. In most places, your local utility can do an audit of your house to see where heat is coming in. (The audit also will tell you where cold is coming in, when the seasons change.) Then take their suggestions for ways you can stop the leaking.

Make sure your insulation is sufficient. This also helps to keep your house warm in the winter. Especially if you have an older house, you might want to have an expert come in and assess your insulation. If you don’t have enough, add some.

Know how best to run your A/C. Don’t cool your home as much when you are not in it. Invest in a programmable thermostat that will turn the temperature up while you are gone, like at work during the day, and then turn it down about an hour before you get home. That way the house is comfortable when you are there, and you aren’t paying to keep your houseplants cool. If you use window units, make sure that your unit is big enough for the space you are cooling and that it is installed correctly.

Use fans correctly. Fans make you feel cooler by blowing cool air across your skin. If you use ceiling fans, make sure they are set on the summer setting. (If you are looking up at the fan, it should be turning counter-clockwise.) Place oscillating fans near vents so that they blow the air when it is coldest. And when you leave the room, turn off the fans.

Photo © Calvin L. Leake |