I recently heard someone refer to their location as “Satan’s armpit” and I thought that was absolutely hilarious AND I thought it was fitting for Florida.
While we have the gulf breeze where I’m located, not everyone is that fortunate where it does get hot through the summer. There are many ways you can help to reduce the strain on your AC unit and keep your house cooler when it’s hot out.
- This is the least expensive and most simple tip: keep closet doors closed as they can add up to be a decent amount of square footage that you are trying to keep cool that isn’t really necessary.
- You can use oscillating floor fans in areas that may not have great circulation of air or that might not be vented well. This will help to disperse the air around the room.
- Another way to help cut costs is to use ceiling fans. In Florida, I doubt there is one house that doesn’t have ceiling fans in it. If it doesn’t, it probably has some super updated mega system that would make polar bears feel at home. But, for a traditional home with a traditional AC system, ceiling fans help circulate air. Just make sure that the blades are turning the proper direction as you want it to push down the cooler air. That’s what that reverse setting is actually for.
- Another free way to help lower your cooling bill is by turning the temperature up on your thermostat. Turn it up a degree or two until you get comfortable with that temp, then go as high as you can. I know a lot of people in Florida who keep their units set in the low 80s. I can’t do that. I get ill if I am indoors and it’s too warm. When I lived in Tennessee, I kept my air around 72. Since living in florida, it is hard on a unit to keep it that temperature, so I have acclimated to a warmer temp indoors. Mine now stays at 76 degrees.
- Maintaining your unit is another way to extend the life of your AC unit and to help keep it running properly and without strain. Change out your filter regularly, especially in summer months when traffic goes in and out more often and brings in more dust. You can also hose out your outside unit to keep it free of debris. Please consult a professional for help with this.
- Another popular thing we do here in Florida is tint our windows. A lot of people do it with the reflective type tint that helps to add privacy to their homes as well. You can purchase tinted windows, but that can be really costly. Home Depot sells a self-adhesive tint in rolls that is rather inexpensive. I have applied it to the windows on my house that face east and do not have shade. I believe this, coupled with other measures has really helped my bill.
- Now, we talk about the more costly options that are a one-time cost, but will help for years to come. One of those ways is to add a ridge vent or gable vents. A ridge vent is an opening in your roof that goes along the peak and is covered to protect from rain, etc, but still allows for heat to escape from the top of your roof. Gable vents are vents on the sides of the house that are in your attic and allow for winds to pass through and push the air out. I think the gable vents are a great idea if the sides of your home face east/west. The ridge vent is a very effective way for heat to escape. It is a newer method similar to the turbine vents, but not as unappealing. You can read this article here or contact a professional to find out more about this.
- And lastly, my suggestion for helping keep your house cooler is to make sure your attic is properly insulated. This can also help keep your house warmer in the winter. Most companies will provide a free estimate. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of insulation needed, it can range anywhere from $200-1,700 (unless you live in a HUGE McMansion). If you feel warm air come out of your vents when you air cuts on, you likely have issues with insulation around your ductwork. It’s worth getting it checked out.
I hope these tips help you in some way. Over a year ago, we added gable vents to our home and it seriously improved our bills. Our summer bill dropped from an average around $200 to $160 just by doing that and adding in the tint on a few easterly facing windows. We still have some issues to address and plan to make some changes when we are financially ready. Home ownership can be costly, but in the long run some changes will help tremendously!