The summer months are the time when many of us turn to our faithful air conditioner for relief. There is an inherent feeling of satisfaction in conquering oppressive heat while remaining in our comfort zone. It’s also a time of year when energy bills can skyrocket, arguments ensue about the environment or carbon footprint, and cooling alternatives are considered by frugal householders. What can be done to stay cool without breaking the bank?
Try natural ventilation
It’s not rocket science. If windows at opposite ends of your home are opened, cross ventilation will naturally ensue. There is a tendency to use an air conditioner as the default household setting during summer when often all that is required is cooling air flow. Try opening the windows and you just might find the temperature is at a liveable level. The A/C may still be called upon during the hottest days, but give the open window option a try in the morning and see how the day pans out first before reaching for the switch.
Upgrade your system
As with all technology and gadgetry, air conditioning systems are being constantly improved, especially during times when energy prices are on the rise. Newer eco-friendly systems are designed to cool your home while using less energy. Air conditioners become less economical over time, and if it’s been several years since your cooling system was installed an upgrade could be advisable. The cost of a new eco-friendly air conditioner will soon be countered by savings on your energy bill.
Drapes are more than a furnishing
Every day, the sun will rise on one side of your house and set on the opposite side. It makes sense to become regulated in behaviour by drawing the drapes accordingly to block the intense heat of the sun. If windows need to remain closed, the affect of the sun shining through glass will be magnified, quickly heating up your home. This great winter advantage soon becomes your nemesis in summer, but the simple practice of drawing the curtains or blinds will keep the sun outside and keep you cooler inside.
Don’t forget the fans
The joy of an air conditioner is in the ability to accurately control temperature. However, sometimes your home may feel hot when in actuality it has simply become stuffy or humid due to the windows being closed. Uncirculating air becomes stagnant, resulting in a hot and heavy sensation. Fans in main living areas will significantly cool the house and circulate air, often alleviating the need to turn on the air conditioner.
Adjust the thermostat
Most people enjoy the air conditioned temperature at approximately 25 degrees. If a member of your household has a prevailing health condition where they are sensitive to heat, a lower temperature of around 23 degrees may be more suitable. Keeping your home a little cooler yet still comfortable will allow the benefits of air conditioning while lowering energy costs.
These are just some of the lifestyle changes that can assist in alleviating the affect of oppressive summer heat. There is no need to shut down the system entirely and make your house an overheated toasty oven. Natural cooling methods will save you money and are also good for the environment. It’s a challenge these days to keep energy costs down, but it is a challenge that thrifty householders are taking on to reap the rewards.
You can also read the QLD government’s energy saving tips.