How to Cool AC Bills in a Hot Summer

By: Keith Wagstaff · June 11, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s Getting Hot in Here

There is a decent chance that 2024 will be the hottest year on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts a 61% likelihood on it being the hottest year ever, but a 100% chance that it’ll make the top five.

Sweltering heat means higher energy bills. In the United States, keeping a house cool this summer will cost the average household $719, said a report released last week from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association and the Center for Energy, Poverty and Climate.

That’s up nearly 9% from the average of $661 paid last year, and up a whopping 51% from the $476 paid on average in 2014. For consumers already hurting from inflation, higher energy bills could be a major drag on their finances. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to lower those bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

How to Save on AC

If you have central air conditioning, or are looking to install it, there are a few things you should know. For example, it’ll work more efficiently if you schedule seasonal tune-ups and change the air filters.

Using timers to set your home’s temperature can also help you save costs because you may choose to cool the air down more when you’re actually at home. Smart thermostats from Ecobee, Google (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), and other companies control the temperature of your home and can save you as much as 8% on your annual heating and cooling bill. If you don’t have central air, smart window air conditioners can save you money.

Shutting out the sun with blinds can also keep your house cooler. Fans can help, too, but remember to turn them off when you’re not in the room. An energy audit can let you know whether or not your home needs insulation , which can keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Harness Solar Power

If you’re interested in going green while saving on your cooling costs, you might consider solar. Lots of sun means lots of free power. The upfront costs for installing solar panels can be high, but many states offer tax incentives to make them more affordable. You can also get a solar tax credit of 30% from the federal government.

Marketwatch found that solar panels can save households $1,530 a year on energy costs. At that rate, it would take you about nine years to make up for the costs of installing a solar system, provided you took advantage of tax incentives.

Solar panels can also relieve pressure on the electric grid during heat waves, helping to prevent blackouts. That said, during extreme heat waves, solar panels can become less efficient , but they’ll still lower your energy bills.

Whatever path you choose, stay cool this summer, and stay hydrated on hot days.

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