90 degree weather with 90% humidity can have you racing for the thermostat just to get some relief. In Florida, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) can account for more than 40% of your utility bill, and at an average electricity cost of 12.09 cents per kilowatt hour, that can add up to a lot of money.1
Here are some alternate ideas for handling Florida heat in July.
- Avoid creating additional heat in your home
One way to keep the air inside your house as cool as possible is to cook outside on the grill, serve cold salads or sandwiches, go out for meals, or heat up food in the microwave rather than use your oven or stovetop.
Instead of using the dishwasher or dryer, wash dishes by hand and air-dry your clothing on a clothesline. If those ideas don’t appeal, run the dishwasher and dryer after dark, when temperatures are cooler.
By simply avoiding certain heat-generating appliances, you can save money.
- Use window coverings
Whether you have curtains or blinds on your windows, keeping them drawn or closed all day against the sun can prevent solar heat gain. Reflective blinds installed close to the glass and light-colored or insulated curtains can reduce heat gain even more.
- Use fans
For each degree on your air conditioner’s setting below 78⁰ Fahrenheit, you can spend eight percent more in cooling costs.1 Ceiling or circulating fans can make rooms feel six to seven degrees cooler than they actually are. Fans don’t really cool a room, but they make it feel more comfortable without using nearly as much electricity as the air conditioner does.
- Run your air conditioner more economically
Using a programmable thermostat to raise the AC temperature setting when you’re out can reduce your summer cooling bills. And remember, don’t manually turn your air conditioner way down to a cold setting because you think it will cool rooms faster when you get home—it won’t. The programmable thermostat can help keep temperatures at the right settings for your comfort while reducing wasted energy.
- Upgrade units if possible
If you’re a homeowner, upgrading from a 10-SEER to a 14-SEER system can reduce your air conditioning costs by more than 25%.1
- Maintain your cooling system
A programmable thermostat and energy-efficient system is not enough. If you don’t properly maintain equipment, you won’t keep your energy costs down.
You should clean or replace your AC filters once a month so dust and dirt won’t block airflow and cause your units to work harder. You should also make sure that your registers are not blocked by furniture, dirt or dust.
Outdoors, be sure to check the condensers and clear them of dirt and debris like grass, leaves and branches. And clip foliage so that it stays at least two feet away from the perimeter of the outdoor condenser units. Consider hiring a reputable AC company to clean coils and check your system every year.
Beat the heat this summer and take control of your costs. And remember, if you have questions about financial or retirement matters, don’t hesitate to contact Alpha Beta Gamma Wealth Management in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Call us at (561) 207-6399 or toll free at (866) 837-0999.
1 “Air Conditioning Quick Facts,” My Florida Home Energy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Myfloridahomeenergy.com. http://www.myfloridahomeenergy.com/help/library/hvac/air-conditioning/#sthash.Rh671eXP.dpbs (accessed July 17, 2018).