Top 10 Tips for Reducing Your A/C and Power Use
1. Switch off the lights. Regular light bulbs give off a lot of heat (if you don’t believe me, try touching one after it has been on for a while). Keeping lights off during the day will reduce your electricity usage and also help to keep your house cool by eliminating the extra heat that these bulbs emanate. Switching to CFL (Compact Fluorescent) bulbs will also help – they generate minimal heat and will save on your utility bill.
2. Don’t Cook Hot Food Inside. Stoves generate a lot of heat, so cooking indoors raises the temperature inside your home. You will spend more money trying to cool down your home again. Outside summer kitchens are not only practical – and fun – but they are also all the rage in luxury homes too. So get a gas barbecue and grill your vegetables, take advantage of farmers markets to get fresh stuff, and eat lots of salads and sandwiches. Your rice cooker, slow cooker, and pressure cooker are alternatives. When you cook outside and see the large clouds of smoke and steam rising, be reminded about how much heat and humidity cooking contributes to indoor atmospheres.
3. Reduce indoor humidity. Humidity makes the air feel warmer. Try to avoid doing things during the heat of the day which increase the humidity in your home, especially clothes washing and drying, and showering. Dry your clothes outside instead of using a dryer. Take cool or lukewarm showers instead of hot, steamy ones. If you use a dishwasher, don’t use the heat dry at the end of the cycle. If you do these, turn on ventilating fans to help extract the warm, moist air. (But be sure to turn them off when you are finished so they don’t waste electricity and extract cool air from the house).
4. Check your electronic equipment. If devices are switched on, they’re adding to the indoor heat (and your power bill). Even if they’re switched off, many still draw power. To stop them contributing to indoor heat, put them on a power strip so they’re easy to switch off fully, or get a ‘smart’ power strip which will do the work for you.
5. Stop cooled air escaping. If you’ve spent money and effort cooling the inside of your home, don’t let it escape. A couple of hours with a caulking gun to stop air leaks costs much less than insulation, and is effective.
6. Paint Your Roof. Pale-coloured roofs reflect rather than absorb heat. This has a fairly small impact per individual home. But the Los Angeles Times reported on a conference which advised that if buildings and road surfaces in 100 of the largest cities in the US were covered with lighter and heat-reflective surfaces the savings could be up to $1 billion annually! So, get a pale roof (it’s already law in California) – and even better, consider putting some solar panels up there.
7. Wet concrete walls. Concrete traps heat throughout the day and releases it as the evening progresses. Just before the sun sets, take your hose and spray the concrete around your house to eliminate the stored heat and keep your house cooler. This won’t work in all climates, so test it where you live – don’t waste a very precious resource unless it really makes a difference.
8. Avoid mixing. It can be uncomfortable to go from an air-conditioned space to a natural one. Your body will adapt, but the transition will be easier if you keep air conditioning at a more natural temperature.
9. Minimize indoor fabrics. Fabric increases interior humidity. Seats covered in natural materials will be cooler. (Add throws / blankets in winter). Consider natural floors rather than carpets; they will be cooler (add rugs in winter).
10 Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting, light clothing goes a long way toward keeping you cool. Dress for the season when inside your house. Loose fitting clothes are cooler and more comfortable than tight fitting garments. And go barefoot or wear sandals. Natural fabrics are cooler than synthetics. At night, use light cotton sheets on your bed, and try a buckwheat pillow which doesn’t hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows do.
The simple, low-tech tried and true methods cost less, save more energy and work forever.
Combine these Top 10 Tips with my other strategies to shade your house and make use of natural breezes, and you will save a great deal of money on your utility bill as well as contribute towards saving the planet!
As with any other movement towards sustainability, do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Keep your home cool with eco friendly air conditioning
Keep your home cool with natural air flow
Keep your home cool with natural shade
How to keep yourself cool