Friday, June 5, 2015

Hot Ways we Battle Summer Cooling Costs

Even though we live in the Chicagoland area, things can get pretty steamy during the summer.  While there might only be a few weeks or even just a few days where temperatures hit the low to mid-90s, this doesn’t mean that humidity here in the Midwest doesn’t make it feel much warmer than it is.  And that steamy, muggy air can be stifling and have us pushing the thermostat down in an effort to cool things off and suck some of that moisture out of the air, which can push energy costs higher.

Check the long-term forecast
Knowing trends can help determine the correct course of action when it comes to our summer cooling plan.  By checking the 10-day forecast, while it’s not always accurate (especially the later out in the forecast we go), we can at least get a general idea of what we’ll be facing when it comes to summer temps.

In turn, this helps us make decisions as to whether it’s worth turning the air conditioning on or just bearing down and taking high temps for a day or two.  There’s little sense in us running the AC all day just getting the place cooled down when opening the windows later in the evening would have done the same job.  Meanwhile, if we know we’re facing a significant stretch of plus-90 degree days, it might be time to close up the windows and get the air running before the temperature spikes so that we don’t put additional strain on our air conditioner as it struggles to catch up once our home is already 87 degrees and draped in humidity.

Utilize cool nights
Cool nights can be a huge advantage to combating summer heat.  Opening windows or putting fans in the windows to draw in cooler air can help harness those lower night-time temperatures as a natural way to cool off a home’s interior.  In our case, we can often lower the temperature of our home significantly at night, closing the windows the next morning to retain some of that cooler air inside, which sometimes allows us to keep the air conditioning off for the remainder of the day or at least a lengthy portion of it.

We’re a fan of fans
Fans act as a great and affordable way to keep us cool during the summer.  As I mentioned, we use fans at night not only to suck in cool air from the outside but to cool us while we’re sleeping.  We also use ceiling fans during the day to help circulate stagnate air and provide a breeze that keeps us from cranking up the AC.

Go for cool meals
Turning the stove or oven on when it’s 90 degrees outside often isn’t one of our top options.  Cooking big meals can add additional heat to our home when the air conditioner is already struggling to keep pace.  Not only this, but it can pump up our utility bills.

Therefore, during warmer days, we often look to create cooler meals.  Things like salads, sandwiches, and if we have to cook, trying to use the toaster oven or microwave rather than the big oven or stove top are ways we look to limit our cooling bills when things are heating up.
 

Disclaimer:
The author is not a licensed financial professional.  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.

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