With the first real heat wave of 2011 upon us, the air conditioners are going to kick in full blast, and in turn put a strain on the power grid, not to mention our electricity bills. That’s why now is a great time to keep a few tips in mind that will help you go green this summer while still staying cool.
1. Clear your A/C Unit’s Surroundings
One of the easiest ways to make your air conditioning unit operate more efficiently is to ensure it is clear from any excess brush, plants, or garbage that may have accumulated over the winter. If the air flow pathway is kept clear, air has an easier time getting in and the A/C unit doesn’t have to work as hard. This rule goes the same if you’re using a window unit and have clutter inside your house or apartment. Make some extra space around the air intake and your cooling unit will run much smoother.
And when the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, you consume less energy. Think green, and save on the amount of energy required to cool your house.
2. Keep an eye on your electricity bill
There’s nothing worse than running your A/C for the first month of summer without realizing the impact it’s going to have on your bill. This year, be proactive and consider how much energy you’re using to keep your home cool.
Once you’ve seen the way your bill reacts to the first month of air conditioning usage, you can gauge how much or how little you should be running it for the coming months. Keep in mind that the amount of energy you or your family are using every month will not only drive up the cost of living, but it also places additional strain on the power grid and creates more pollution.
3. Clean your air filters
Keeping the outside of your A/C unit clear is great, but if you don’t keep your air filters clean it won’t do any good. Not only should you take out your air filters and give them a good cleaning every few weeks, but they should also be completely replaced at least once a season.
Depending on what kind of air conditioning unit you have, you may be able to clean the filters even more often. If you’re using a window-style or standalone unit, it’s easy to take out, rinse and scrub the filters and have them back in the unit in a few minutes.
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure your air conditioner is operating as energy efficiently as possible.
4. Raise your thermostat a few degrees
The most common recommendation for saving energy during the peak summer season is raising your thermostat a few degrees, keeping it a bit warmer than may desire. While this is the easiest way to go green while still using A/C, many are hesitant to raise the thermostat.
This year, if you aren’t ready to completely take the plunge to reduced air conditioner usage, begin by turning your temperature up a bit before you go to sleep. If you have a time-enabled thermostat, you can even set it to get warmer in the middle of the night so you can fall asleep comfortably and still wake up feeling refreshed. Even a small window of time when you use less A/C will make a difference on your energy bill, and will also help keep our nationwide energy consumption down this summer.
Hopefully these 4 tips help you go green this summer, while still staying cool indoors. If you have a tip that’s helped you stay cool without using any A/C, let us know in the replies.
Illustrations by Hunaid Taj