5 Ways to Lower Your Cooling Costs

by James Florence


The simplest way to lower your air conditioning bills is by finding ways to keep your home naturally cooler. Photo: Acme Sunshades Enterprise Inc. (2017)

A central air conditioner can be priceless on a hot summer day, but the cost of running it certainly isn’t. While having a well-maintained, energy-efficient system will help keep your cooling bills in check, another smart step is finding ways to keep your home naturally cooler, which reduces the need to run your system in the first place. Here are five measures to consider:

1. Install a whole house fan. On summer mornings and evenings, it’s not unusual for the temperature outside the home to be cooler than on the inside. In this instance, running the air conditioner can feel like a waste of energy. If only there was a way to get that cool outdoor air into the home…

Enter the whole house fan. Typically installed on the attic floor at a central point in the home, this simple appliance exhausts warm indoor air, allowing cool air to enter through open windows and naturally lower the interior temperature. Unlike an air conditioner, which artificially produces cool air, a whole house fan actually exchanges stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air, resulting in a more refreshing interior environment. It also consumes far less energy—250 watts on its high setting compared to a central air conditioner’s 3,500 watts. Plus, whole fans are relatively inexpensive to install, so you’ll recoup your investment within a short time period.

2. Seal your attic. Windows and doors are common culprits of energy loss, but another escape route for conditioned air is the attic. Most houses contain numerous air gaps between the attic and living space, including spaces between light switches and receptacles; joints where walls meet ceilings; and spaces where electrical wires, water lines, vents and mechanical equipment enter the attic. Added together, these gaps can represent a substantial amount of energy loss, which your air conditioner has to work harder to replenish. To prevent this, have a professional seal your attic by applying foam insulation to close these gaps. By cutting off this escape route for conditioned air, you’ll keep your home cooler for longer and minimize the need to run your air conditioner.

3. Install window shades and awnings. Another natural way to keep out the heat is to put up window treatments such as curtains or honeycomb blinds. You may also consider installing exterior awnings, which further reduce heat gain by blocking sunlight before it reaches your window glass. Plus, besides keeping your home cooler, well-designed awnings augment the beauty of your home, making them a win both functionally and aesthetically.

4. Apply solar window film. Window treatments and awnings may help keep a home cooler, but for some, the trade-off of losing natural light is a deal breaker. If this is the case for you, a good alternative is to coat your windows with a solar reflective film. Reflective films can block up to 80 percent of solar energy, which, besides preventing sun-fading of carpets and furniture, lowers interior heat gain. The best part: window films are able to do this without detracting from natural light, so you can stay cool while maintaining your sunny outlook.

5. Coat your exterior. Even if your windows are shaded, there’s nothing to keep the rest of your home exterior from absorbing the sun’s heat…until now. COOLWALL® by TEX•COTE™ is an innovative exterior coating that uses specialized heat-reflective pigments to keep a home’s exterior walls cooler. On a hot summer day, COOLWALL can reduce a home exterior’s surface temperature by 20 degrees or more, a difference that translates to cooler interior temperatures. Additionally, COOLWALL is water-resistant, so you’ll reap the benefits of this cutting-edge product all year.

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