Energy costs are rising faster than the summer temperatures. Combined with the worst inflation in 40 years, this double-whammy can really strain your family budget.
Since central air conditioning is one of the biggest users of electricity in the summer months, smart consumers are looking for ways to cut it back…or eliminate it altogether. Here are some tips to lower your costs while keeping cool.
Take Advantage of Nature
Colorado’s semi-arid climate and high elevation give residents several ways to use nature to their advantage when summer temperatures climb. Our thinner, drier air dissipates heat faster than in the humid climes of lower elevations. Temperature drop quickly as the sun goes down and taking advantage of the naturally cooler evening and nighttime air is cheaper than paying to cool down hot indoor air.
Open windows and use ceiling, attic, and whole house fans that use much less electricity than refrigerated air conditioning. Ceiling fans give a gentle cooling breeze and floor and table fans can keep air circulating in individual rooms. And don’t forget the kitchen exhaust fan. It removes hot cooking air and draws cool evening air in through open windows. Then trap that cool air in and keep the hot air out by closing windows, drapes and blinds in the morning, and close doors to rooms you don’t use during the day.
Do You Really Need Central Air?
Central air as a standard feature of new homes in Colorado is a fairly recent phenomenon. For many decades, residents were content to use the natural cooling described above. Granted that it may be an inclusion in nearly all recent new construction, but just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. And before you add it to older existing homes, consider other more cost effective options like evaporative (swamp) coolers and mini-split air conditioners.
Evaporative coolers are very efficient in many parts of our state and mini-split air conditioners can save by cooling only the areas you’ll be in.
Mini-Splits Are Efficient and Comfortable
Unlike central heat and air that treat your house as a whole, mini-split air conditioners serve specific areas, allowing much more efficient use of energy (and lower energy bills). They are individually controllable, eliminating wasteful cooling and heating of unoccupied or unused spaces. Many systems even offer smart controls that can be programmed and operated remotely using your Wi-Fi network.
Also known as ductless systems, mini-splits are just what the name implies—small components split into individual areas. They can be single-purpose heating or cooling units or combination systems to do both. Both heat and cooling are provided by a compressor. In the winter, the compressor acts like a heat pump and in summer it’s similar to other refrigerated systems like those in your car or refrigerator.
\More Ways to Save This Summer
Here are more ways to cut down your energy costs as we move into summer.
- Avoid peak demand times. Rates are 40% higher between 1pm and 7pm, when demand is at its highest. Move things like laundry and cooking to mornings and evenings if you can.
- Move your cooking outdoors. Homeowners are finding that outdoor kitchens add enjoyment to summer cooking while keeping the heat outdoors.
- Dress for the weather. Lightweight, loose clothing lets air circulate near your skin turning you into your own evaporative cooler.
- Switch to LED lighting. Incandescent bulbs waste over half their energy generating heat. That not only adds to cooling costs, it also shows up in your electric bill. LED bulbs are cool, energy efficient, and long-lasting.
Allstar Electrical Services is committed to helping you enjoy your summer at the lowest possible cost. Our extensive residential services are there to help you reach that goal. Visit our website to learn more. Then email us or give us a call at 303.399.7420 to schedule an appointment.