*Editor’s note: This year-long series about financial literacy is sponsored by PSECU.
Turning up your air conditioner may seem like an easy solution for beating the heat in the summer months, but your energy expenses can add up quickly if you depend on your thermostat too much. So, how do you strike a balance when you’re battling the heat?
Your electric bill doesn’t have to increase just because the temperature does. We’ve gathered a list of tips and money-saving gadgets that can save you energy in the summer so you can stay cool without sweating over your finances.
Use Cross Ventilation and Fans
Cross ventilation can help you cool your home at no cost. To start, open windows or doors on the opposite sides of your home during the early morning or late evening hours when the air is chilly.
If there’s a breeze, it’ll move throughout the house, eliminating the hot and stale air inside. If you don’t have any air movement outside, try placing fans in windows or doors on opposite sides of your rooms. You can create a breeze yourself and promote passive cooling.
You can also take advantage of overhead fans, which are a common feature in most homes. Box fans and rotating fans are also a convenient, cost-effective way to cool down, using far less energy than AC. To provide a comparison, an average central air conditioner uses an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 watts, whereas a ceiling fan uses only 15 to 90.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed and Sealed
Cool air will typically escape a home through old or improperly sealed windows and doors. Heat gain and loss through windows can account for 25% to 30% of heating and cooling energy use in residential properties, so it’s smart to look into these areas. Ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed, and keep them closed whenever you’re using your air conditioner.
To check if your windows need an update, carefully look for air leaks and examine the caulk and weatherstripping. Minor updates like redoing the caulking, investing in solar control film and adding window coverings or treatments can be performed by just about any homeowner and help you save money.
If you’re willing and able to spend significantly more, you may prefer to replace your windows altogether. Upgrading to storm windows can be a worthwhile investment, reducing your heat loss by as much as 50%.
Maintain or Replace Your HVAC System
Your HVAC filter is constantly working to keep dirt and debris from swirling through your heating and cooling system. That said, it can hinder the efficiency of your HVAC system if it isn’t regularly cleaned or replaced. By cleaning or replacing your filters every month or two during the summer, you can reduce your AC’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
If you’ve already replaced your HVAC filters and don’t see a difference in the strength of your HVAC output, it may be time to consider replacing your cooling system, especially if it’s over 10 years old. It might also be the right time to update your system if you’re preparing your home to go on the market. Energy efficiency can be an attractive selling point to potential buyers.
Replacing your system can be a significant investment, of course. Fortunately, a home equity loan can give you access to the funds you need to make high-value improvements to your house.
Adjust Your Oven Usage and Diet
Even briefly using your oven can raise your kitchen’s temperature, affecting your comfort. By opting for no-bake foods like salads and sandwiches, you can keep your space cooler.
Reducing your oven usage doesn’t mean you have to forfeit a hot meal, however. Low and slow cooking options like crockpots can work well while keeping heat and energy costs to a minimum. On nice summer days, grilling is also a great way to get your family outside and make a delicious meal – no oven required.
Make the Most of Your Home’s Equity With PSECU
At PSECU, we’re here to help you put the value of your house to work. If you’re hoping to make home updates and reduce your energy costs, our home equity loans are a smart solution.
We offer competitive rates, no application fees, and an easy application process. Learn more about our options today.
The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.
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