Portland’s springs and summers may not be brutally hot, but that doesn’t mean we’re willing to forgo air conditioning just to save money. By taking some simple steps to reduce cooling costs, you can enjoy your A/C and keep your electricity bills reasonable.
How to Reduce Cooling Costs
- Use ceiling fans – A ceiling fan can make you feel 5 to 8 degrees cooler so you can raise the air conditioner’s thermostat temperature by an equal amount to use less energy. Every degree you set the thermostat above 78 degrees could save you up to 7 percent on cooling costs.
- Don’t overcool your home – When you leave the house, set the thermostat to 85 degrees or higher. The A/C uses less energy to cool down a warm house than it does to maintain a low temperature for an eight-hour stretch. If you tend to forget to raise the thermostat, install a programmable thermostat.
- Optimize your windows – Neutral-colored drapes with heat-reflective backings reduce cooling costs by lowering your home’s heat gain up to 33 percent. Using high-reflectivity blinds can cut heat gain even more. For year-round savings, consider replacing old windows with Energy Star-qualified models.
- Weatherize the attic – Even on mild summer days, the attic temperature can rise past 100 degrees. Good attic air sealing and insulation keep that heat out of your rooms so it doesn’t make more work for your air conditioner. Air ducts running through the attic and other unconditioned spaces should have the joints sealed with mastic and be insulated to support your A/C’s efficiency.
- Upgrade your equipment – If your home’s air conditioner is more than 10 years old or needs repairs more than once a year, it’s likely near the end of its life span. By upgrading to a higher-efficiency air conditioner now, you could cut your cooling expenses by 20 to 50 percent and save yourself from the headache of an unexpected breakdown.
For more information on how to reduce cooling costs in your Portland home, contact Roth Heating and Cooling.