Save On Utilities: Alternative Cooling And Heating Methods
According to the US Department of Energy, Homeowners and Renters spend 6 to 12 percent of their gross income on utility bills. Furthermore, nearly half of this is spent on heating and cooling. Today’s article shows you how to employ cost-saving alternatives to keep your cooling and heating bills lower.
These tips will work no matter where you live. There are always alternative methods for keeping cool and staying warm. Use these ideas as a starting point for researching alternative cost-saving methods for the region in which you live.
Cost Effective Alternatives To Cooling
- Fans. An obvious and relatively cheap alternative, portable fans and ceiling fans can provide plenty of air movement which will allow your thermostat to be set a few degrees higher. Ceiling fans are a very cost effective way to save money in the long run. A basic ceiling fan will cost about $30, while installation is about $30-$50. If you want to install the fan yourself, here is a great article: How to Install a Ceiling Fan from doityourself.com
- Evaporative Coolers. If you live in an area with low humidity it is a good idea to invest in an evaporative cooler. These units cost 66% less to run than conventional central air. Also known as “Swamp Coolers” The way they work is by drawing outside air over moistened pads and blowing the cooled air into the house. You can find a variety of evaporative coolers here: Evaporative coolers at NexTag.
- UpDux. These are vents that move some of the cool air in your house up into the attic. These work great in combination with an evaporative cooler (see above.) These keep the house more comforatable, because they allow air to circulate through the entire house. Also, by cooling the attic considerably, it will affect the temperature of the whole house. You can find UpDux for only about $20 each.
- Upgrading Your Equipment. An old central air conditioning unit that requires regular repairs needs to be replaced. It makes much more economic sense to upgrade from a 10+ year old system to a more modern and energy efficient model. Energy star rated units are your best bet, as the EPA recommends these. These units can reduce your cooling costs up to 20%.
- Programmable Thermostats. Costing between $50 and $150, these hi-tech thermostats will allow you to manage your energy usage much more efficiently. If you leave your house for long periods throughout the day, a programmable thermostat is a good choice. The beauty of a programmable thermostat is that you can to set it to automatically rise to 82 degrees at 8am, then when everyone gets home, it can be set to automatically lower to 78 degrees at 5 or 6pm.
Cheap Alternatives To Staying Warm
- Use Your Fireplace. It’s surprising how many people forget to use their fireplace during the winter. We understand that wood can be an extra cost, but if you stay on the lookout you can always find neighbors or landscaping crews always throwing out old wood.
- Water Heater Jackets. These nifty covers that insulate your water heater are inexpensive and very easy to install. You can find them at your local hardware store for only about $20. Read more about them here: Energy Savers – Insulate Your Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings.
- Wear Layers. Beanies. Thick Socks. Blankets. These are all great ideas to let you bundle up for the winter. Some people may be able to swallow this tip easier than others, but getting cozy in multiple layers is a great trick to keep that thermostat lower.
- Have A Gas Line Run To Your House. This can be an expensive process, but if you’re planning in staying at your house for 30+ years, you can start to see major savings with this tip in 8-10 years. It may come as a surprise to some, but electrical heating is much more expensive than gas heating.
General Tips For Saving Money On Heating And Cooling
- Install Self-Closing Hinges On Doors. If you have kids, you probably know that they can be especially notorious for leaving doors open.Don’t let any of your cool air or heat escape by installing self-closing hinges. You could see a significant difference on your next bill.
- Invest In Good Insulation. If you have thin/cheap insulation, expect to pay much more for heating and cooling. Spend the time to research your current insulation set up, and find some quality insulation that will last a long time. This is especially important for attics.
- Close Vents In Rooms That Don’t Get Used. You will air conditioning or heat if you leave vents open in unoccupied rooms. Everyone knows you’re supposed to close all the windows when running the air conditioning or heating, but it’s equally important to not let it waste into empty rooms, as well.
Please comment any ideas, stories or tips you may have when it comes to saving money on your Cooling or Heating bills.
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