Block Out the Rays
Take your window coverings an extra step with tinted window film. The simple DIY window treatment, which you can find on Amazon or at any home repair store, is another option that will block heat-causing rays from warming your home.
The Stack Effect
Pursue what's known as the stack effect. To achieve it, open the windows on both the upper and lower floors, and as warm air exits the upper level, cooler air will come in at ground level (where you might consider sleeping). During the day—though it may seem counterintuitive—close the windows to maintain cooler indoor temperatures.
Ductwork Detective Work
Leaks in ductwork can reduce the efficiency of your central air conditioning system by as much as 40 percent. Calling in a HVAC professional may not seem like a good way to save money, but if your electric bills seem exorbitant , it's worth looking into. In the long run, you're likely to save more in operating costs than you would have to pay the pro.
Plug the Leaks
It's not only ductwork that needs sealing. The average house is like a sieve, leaking air all over the place—and in the summer that means cooled air is blowing right outside and driving up your bills. An energy audit can help you identify leaks and cracks around windows, doors, and other holes in the home so you can close the gaps with caulk or foam sealant. Or you can plug air leaks as you encounter them, from the basement on up to the attic.
Keep It Clean
Remember to clean or replace your HVAC filter monthly during summer months. When filters are dirty, the cooling system has to work hard to push air through the ducts, which increases energy costs and increases the risk of malfunction. Taking care of this simple maintenance task could save you loads of money in repair costs and help ensure that your cooling system keeps working when you need it.
Turn It Off!
Sure, it feels nice to step inside a cool house on a sweltering day, but it’s a luxury not a necessity to leave the AC running while you’re not home. Shut off the AC while you’re out running errands; it won’t take that long for the house to cool down once you return and and crank it back on.
Welcome the Breeze
Take advantage of a cool breeze wherever you can. Install a storm door with screen panels so you can leave your doors open just as you do with your windows.
Hit Pause on Chores
You might not notice a considerable difference, but when the major appliances in your house are running the temperature inside spikes. Try to give your AC a break by running the washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher early in the morning or at night when it’s typically cooler out. In addition, try only running full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher, and opt to line dry your clothes.
Pick an Efficient Model
When it’s time to get a new air conditioner or replace an old one always be on the lookout for a model with the Energy Star seal. This government-backed label indicates that the appliance meets an energy efficient standard. Not only will this help you save money, but some energy companies offer rebates. You can also find the seal on ceiling fans, thermostats, and light bulbs.
Mind the Doors
It should go without saying that if the AC is on you should shut the windows and close the back door. But what you do with the interior doors all depends on the type of AC unit in your house. For central air, leave the doors open to help the system keep the temperature balanced throughout the home. For a window or portable unit, keep the door of the room it’s in closed. This system pulls air from the room and circulates it back out cool, so if warm air leaks in the unit is forced to use more energy.
Bring On Evaporation
Evaporative coolers are making a comeback of sorts, particularly in dry climates, where these simple machines can lower the air temperature by five degrees or more (by blowing air through wetted pads). No, evaporative coolers are no substitute for air conditioning on a sweltering day, but they are cheaper to operate when the heat is not extreme.