We know it's tempting to reach for the air-conditioner remote and turn the temperature down to a minimum when the sun is doing its worst outside. However, once the summer months come to pass, you are likely to regret doing it, not only because of the alarming electricity bill you receive, but also because you have hardly helped the already stressed environment. Here are some quick fixes that can help you keep the electricity bill in check and ensure that you use electricity judiciously!
If you are wondering why your air conditioner doesn't cool the house even after being 'on' for the whole day, the first thing to do is to locate cracks and air-leakage points. These gaps let the hot air in and the cool air escape. Look for gaps in areas like baseboards, switchboard plates, window frames and mountings around air conditioners. And take steps to seal them.
Make sure your air conditioner is serviced well before the summer season, so that it is working at its optimum. Not servicing the air conditioner can only increase the electricity load while providing little cooling compared to the amount of energy it consumes. Also, make sure you wash the filters every 15 days to enable cool air to pass through your home easily (if you do use air conditioners).
Heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home is very high if the insulation levels are not enough. Start with the roof of your house. Insulation here cuts down cooling cost by 20% to 30%. That's quite a gain, and a smart long-term remedy to save bills. You could also upgrade the insulation and tinting of double-paned windows to reflect sunlight.
Use your appliances smartly
Simple checks to use the appliances go a long way in saving energy and money. Turn the lights off when leaving a room as they add to the heat. Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) as they consume less power and give less heat too. Also use them only after sunset. Unplug your desktops, chargers, printers, TVs and DVD players when you're not using them, and put your laptops in 'sleep' mode if you aren't using it for more than 15 minutes. While purchasing new appliances, ensure they are energy star-certified models only, as they consume less energy compared to older models.
Ward off the heat
Ever thought what helps hair dryers, and dryers in washing machines and dishwashers perform-it's the heat. So if there's enough heat in the weather already, then why waste power on these appliances? Opt for natural ways to let your dresses, dishes and lovely tresses dry. Also wash only full loads of dishes and clothes to avoid repeated use of these appliances.
Here are some tips to help you use your air conditioners more efficiently and cost-effectively:
- Clean the front grilles of the indoor unit every fortnight in summer. Replace air filters if it gets dirty too often.
- Set the thermostat temperature to a comfortable limit-anything from 22°C to 25°C is okay, nothing lower. Each degree of extra cooling increases energy consumption by about 5% to 10%.
- Use a fan with the AC to spread the cool air around the room.
- Don't place lamps and TVs near your air-conditioning thermostat, as it will sense the heat from these appliances and cause the AC to run longer than required.