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Photo: Youtube

Here are some helpful ways for you to use the air conditioner more economically:

Plant shade trees around the house

Planting leafy trees around the outside of your home will help block the sun and keep your house cooler.

“Most heat that accumulates inside a house comes directly from the sun shining onto the roof or through windows and heating the house directly,” says John Krigger, founder and president of Saturn Resource Management in Helena, Montana. Krigger, an energy conservation specialist, writes books, lectures and trains others in energy conservation for buildings.

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Shade trees help to cool your house. Photo: Energy-Info

Krigger says to plant tall trees on the south side of the property and broad trees to the west and east. “If you have a large window facing east or west, you’re going to get a lot of sun in the morning and afternoon and solar rays are coming from low in the sky,” he says, while solar rays are high in the sky on the south side.

“It’s worthwhile to spend the extra money to buy a tall tree if you put the tree in the right place,” Krigger says.

Turn off at night, and save while you sleep

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Turn off the air conditioner at night. Photo: Quarzt

This money-saving tip is as clear as night and day! Keep your air conditioning on during the day, and off at night. The reasoning is simple. Firstly, the evening air is naturally cooler, so you can take advantage of that by turning off the air conditioning and opening a window. You may even get a gentle breeze to cool things down.

If you do find a welcome breeze, open windows or doors on both sides of your house to allow it to flow through.

Secondly, for comfortable sleeping, your body simply doesn’t need your air conditioner to run at the same temperature as it does during the day. So, with your air conditioner off, you can enjoy some nocturnal energy savings and sweet dreams.

Cover your windows

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Photo: The Blinds

When it’s hot, about 76 percent of sunlight on windows enters in the form of heat, according to the DOE. Solar screens, or mesh-like window screens, can intercept the energy before it gets into the house. Window screens are particularly effective on east- and west-facing windows, as cited by Bank Rate.

“If you can install them on the outside, that is the way to do it,” Krigger says. “That would stop (solar energy) before it got completely through the glass. It’s better than anything you can do on the inside.”

Window films are another money-saving option. They are metalized sheets that reflect heat before it can be transmitted through the glass. “Using something white or silver, something that is very reflective will stop it getting through the glass,” Krigger says.

Windows must be shut for window films to work, but solar screens keep out sun and insects even with the windows open.

Keeping it clean to keep costs down

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Photo: Passion Air

Here’s one more awesome tip to reduce your air conditioning bill over summer. Ensure your air conditioning unit is regularly maintained and that the filter is either replaced or cleaned to maintain optimum efficiency, Daikin, a famous air conditioner brand cites. A dirty filter makes any air conditioning unit work harder, meaning more electricity and higher energy costs!

Get “smart” about your thermostat

If there’s no one home during the day, you can save as much as 10 percent on your power bills by keeping the thermostat seven to 10 degrees higher for eight hours, the DOE notes.

The DOE recommends keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home and not dropping it down to a super-low temperature after being gone all day. That doesn’t cool your home any faster and can result in excessive cooling and a bigger power bill at the end of the month.

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Photo: Tulsa World

Another trick: Set the AC fan speed on high, except on very humid days, the DOE recommends. On humid days, set the fan speed on low. Why? The slower speed will remove more moisture from the air and improve the comfort of your home.

If you haven’t done so already, it might be time to switch to a programmable or “smart” thermostat that can be set to adjust the temperature in your home at certain hours of the day. Smart thermostats enable you to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home and many of them can be operated remotely.

The location of the thermostat is also important. To work efficiently, it should be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows, according to the DOE.

And don’t place furniture or curtains where they would block AC vents.

Install ceiling fans

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Photo: The Home Depot

If possible, run ceiling fans on your home’s upper level and open the windows on the lower level. If you live in a one-story house or apartment, close windows near the fan and open windows in rooms far from the fan, preferably on your home’s windward side, the DOE advises. The key, Krigger says, is to circulate air inside the house.

Moving air also helps evaporate the sweat from your skin, says Vermont-based energy consultant and author Paul Scheckel of Parsec Energy. “Evaporational cooling is an incredibly efficient process for removing heat, and our bodies do it all by themselves,” he says. “A little help can increase the cooling effect.”

There are plenty of ways you can get creative when it comes to staying cool and saving money. But when the heat of summer truly hits, sometimes your best bet is cranking up the AC. Learning how to use an air conditioner economically can help you keep your cool physically and budget-wise.
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