Let’s face it, summers in Florida are hot and humid. In fact, they are so hot and humid that most people cannot imagine going on without air conditioning. We use air conditioning in our cars, in our offices, in our restaurants, and in our homes, almost 24 hours a day. If you know how a hot summer day in Central Florida feels, you won’t be surprised to know that power bills can go up 20 to 30 percent during the hot season. What’s more, multi-annual climate charts show that each summer is getting hotter. 2012 was especially hot, so was 2014 and 2015. Data suggests that 2016 will be another particularly warm year for the South.
Unfortunately, with heat comes a different concern: an inflated power bill. So how can you get a lower power bill when you will definitely need to power up your AC unit 24/7 just to survive? Let’s see some smart tips from the experts:
Prepare Your Home
You can save a lot on your power bill, if you do everything right. The most important thing to know about air conditioning costs is that they add up and include costs related to conductive heat gains, radiant (or solar) gains, infiltration and latent load.
• Minimizing solar gains is quite simple and straightforward. A good set of window coverings, blinds, or shutters can do wonders during the day, lowering the inside temperature by up to 10 degrees without overworking your AC unit.
• Setting the thermostat higher – let’s say you want an inside temperature of 75 degrees, and the outside temperature is 90 degrees. That’s 15 degrees of cooling for you AC unit to manage, and each degree is a fraction of the cooling load. Setting the thermostat temperature by a mere 2 degrees higher can tremendously lower your power bill. It’s barely noticeable, but it can lower the amount of power your AC consumes by up to 15%. When you add these numbers up for 6 months of AC use, you’ll get a nice, big saving on your power bill.
• Insulate any infiltration points around the house – almost every house has some kind of infiltration spots which leak cool air. Whether they are around the windows, the pipes or the attic, every home has them. You will need to seal off any major leaking area to make sure your home doesn’t lose any cool air. For instance, with a minimal investment, you can use duct tape to seal off leaking points around your attic, use silicon-based sealants around the windows and repair any holes in the walls.
• Have your AC unit routinely checked by a professional – poorly working AC units can use a lot of power and will rarely be able to cool your house properly. Hire a professional to check the filters, the condenser or the evaporator. It’s something that many homeowners fall behind on, and may try to continue neglecting until the AC dies in the middle of summer.
Wash your Laundry with Cold Water
Washing machines and dryers gobble up a lot of power. And that power goes to heat the water to more than 200 degrees. While some clothes, particularly whites, do require a higher water temperature, most clothes can easily be washed with colder water. The savings you’ll get from simply using cold instead of hot water add up and can reach almost $200 per year, according to Michael Bluejay, also known as Mr. Electricity. He even created a complete energy use calculator which can be really helpful for any homeowners who want to lower their power bill.
Use Heat generating Appliances during the Night
Do you like to bake your own bread or use the oven often? Your best bet would be to cook your paleo meals and use the bread making machine during the night to reduce power bills. It lowers the load on your AC unit and it’s also pretty convenient. You will get freshly baked bread in the morning without any fuss.
Replace Your Light Bulbs
Old-fashioned light bulbs are notorious for their poor efficiency. Just by replacing your old 100-watt light bulbs with 60-watt bulbs will save you $131 per year, while replacing them with modern LED bulbs could save you an additional $123 every year.
With these simple tips, you can keep your power bill low even during the high heat of summer, and all without too much effort. Over time, you might look at replacing older windows or doors with models that keep your home better insulated. Or, if this ends up being the first time you’ve had your AC system looked at, you might also find that a slight repair or modification might make a bigger difference. Professional air conditioning contractors like Bob Heinmiller in Orlando will always be happy to help you find the best solution for your house and home.