We’re in the throes of summer, so it can get hot – and for many people, that means a very, very high electric bill, since they’re spending mad money on the ol’ AC. But it doesn’t have to be that way – while your bill will probably go up no matter what you do, here are some ways to keep it more reasonable.
Turn the A/C Up
And by up, I mean down. What I mean is, you don’t need to have your apartment chilled to a nice 68 degrees. That’s absurd. If it’s hot out and you’re dressed for the summer, you should set your A/C at roughly 76-78 degrees. Perfectly comfortable, but not wasteful.
Also, if you have only a window unit in your bedroom and nowhere else, don’t try to cool your entire apartment. Instead, shut the door to your bedroom, and primarily use that space — you’ll have a cool area to stay in, and you’ll save a ton in electricity.
Change/Clean the Filter
If your place has central air, make sure the unit’s air flow filter is new. Particularly in a rental situation, many people’s filter is covered in grime. This makes your A/C work much harder to pump air – and this extra work uses lots of extra electricity.
If you have a window unit, there’s a filter, much like a lint filter in a dryer – and, much like the lint filter in a dryer, you need to peel off the dust periodically for it to work efficiently.
Particularly in the evening, when things have cooled off, your apartment will remain stuffy and hot, while the outside temperature is pleasant. Instead of running the A/C, you just need to get some circulation in your apartment and you’ll be fine. Use some fans.
How? Simple: the goal is to get good air circulation throughout your apartment – so open some windows. Make sure you have windows opened across from each other, so you get a nice cross breeze. Then, put one of your fans in one of the open windows. Point the fan so it blows outside the apartment. Yes, outside. As a result, you’re blowing the hot, stuffy air in your apartment out your window.
Cool air will naturally come in from the window across from the window where you’re blowing out hot air, replacing the exiting hot air with cool outdoor air. (It’s physics, people.) You’ll soon have a nicely aired-out, comfortable apartment.
Monitor the Windows
Aside from making sure you have the windows open when you’re running fans, also make sure you close (tightly) all the windows when you’re using your A/C. Otherwise, you’re letting that expensive, cooled air leak right out.
And, if you have a window A/C unit, make sure that you’ve put some sort of insulation on the areas around the unit, so that hot air doesn’t come right back in through the sides. Otherwise, you’re wasting a ton of energy.
Go Out More
Summertime is for movies. Why? Because the theater is air-conditioned. Ditto for malls. Beaches and parks are usually far more pleasant than your hot ol’ apartment. So get out, see some people, and enjoy yourself. Also, make sure to turn off the A/C when you’re not home.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll have a great summer relaxing, hanging out with friends, and staying cool – without the astronomical electric bill.