This was originally published on Monday, May 27, 2019, in the Pacific Daily News. Click here to subscribe to the PDN.
By making some small changes to your household and lifestyle, you can ease the burden on your wallet without sacrificing the summer fun.
- Rent heavy duty tools.Summer is a popular time for home improvement and borrowing or renting heavy equipment instead of buying can save you a lot of money. Depending on the scale of the project, you could save thousands of dollars.
- Keep blinds, curtains closed. Close the blinds on western-facing windows to limit the sunlight entering your home and reduce your air conditioner’s workload. Following this simple tip can decrease the amount of sun-generated heat in your home by up to 77 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Fill in air gaps.Don’t let precious cool air escape because your home isn’t airtight. By insulating properly and sealing gaps, you can keep cold air inside and reduce the strain on your air conditioner. It’s a fairly cheap fix that can produce significant savings.
- Keep vents clean and clear. Your air ducts should be cleaned out at least once a year to prevent dust and dirt buildup from reducing airflow. You should also be careful not to block any vents with furniture or decorations.
- Replace AC filters.Along with keeping your air ducts clean, you should replace or clean your air conditioning filter regularly to prevent it from getting clogged. Swapping a dirty filter for a clean one can reduce your unit’s energy consumption by between 5 percent and 15 percent, according to energy.gov.
- Moderate AC temperature.It might be tempting to lower that thermostat to 70 degrees on brutal summer days, but you’ll end up paying a hefty price for the convenience. Save 1% to 3 % on your electric bill for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees, according to the California Science Center.
- Use fans.Turning the air conditioning off and switching on a fan can be an excellent money saver. Fans use less power and keep the air in your house circulating, which makes you feel cooler. Reduce cooling costs by as much as 90% per day by using fans instead of the air conditioner, according to Energy Impact Illinois.
- Take a cool shower.Taking short, cool showers helps regulate your body’s temperature. You won’t need to run the air conditioner as much, resulting in a lower energy bill.
- Cook outside.Summer cookouts aren’t just great fun, they’re also great money savers. By taking the kitchen outside, you prevent heat from the stove or oven from building up and eliminate the cost of running those appliances.
- Turn off lights.It’s a bad habit to leave the lights on when you leave a room. Switching them off can save you a bundle in the long run. Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat, so you might want to switch to a more efficient lighting source.
Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 24 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at http://www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.