You can give your air conditioner a well-deserved break and lower your energy bills by considering other ways to keep the heat of summer from sweating your brow. The U.S. Department of Energy says alternatives such as energy-efficient windows and doors, shading and natural ventilation can help cool your home with less energy use.
During summer, keep window coverings closed in the daytime to block the sun’s heat. Consider window awnings or roll-down shades for the outside of the home that can be operated by remote control. Choose manufactured shades or blinds that are labeled blackout, or have reflective backing.
A good way to help your air conditioner is to run ceiling fans at the same time. They will circulate the cool air, allowing you to turn down the air conditioner. Installed on the ceiling between the attic and living space, a whole house fan can meet your home cooling needs by pulling in air from open windows and exhausting it through the attic and roof.
Image via Department of Energy
In dry climates, evaporative cooling can provide an alternative to air conditioning with less energy use. Evaporative cooling cools outdoor air by passing it over water-saturated pads, causing the water to evaporate into the air. The 15-degree to 40-degree cooler air is then directed into the home, pushing warmer air out through the windows.
Central air conditioning alternatives
Consider room air conditioners and ductless mini-split air conditioners. Both provide the flexibility of being able to cool individual rooms. Dehumidifying heat pipes allow an air conditioner to dehumidify better while still cooling the air, making them ideal for hot, humid environments.
So, stop relying on just your air conditioner to keep you cool. Alternatives can help you stay comfortable and reward you with cheaper electric bills.