How to manage your air conditioning costs in the summer

Whether you live in a house or an apartment and no matter what type of air conditioning system you have (forced air, central air, window units, etc.), staying cool and staying within budget are both important. Here are some tips on keeping your electric bill from skyrocketing in the summer.

By strategically placing fans in relation to open windows, you can maximize air circulation. Moving air helps evaporate sweat, so if you live in a 2 story home, close the windows upstairs, open the windows downstairs, and put fans upstairs. In a single floor place, put fans farther away from open windows. The best windows to open are the ones where the most breezes come through.

It’s also a good idea to open windows at night when it’s cooler out, then close them first thing in the morning, trapping cooler air inside and keeping hot air out during the day.

The right window treatments can make a big difference in keeping heat out. You can buy insulating curtains at most retailers that carry window treatments. A properly insulated home is better for retaining internal temperature.

window air conditioning unit
At Alvern Gardens Apartments, residents are allowed to install as many window a/c units as they’d like. For just $35/unit, maintenance will install them for residents.

Humidity is often what makes heat stifling even if it’s not that hot, so consider investing in a dehumidifier, an a/c with humidity control, or an evaporative cooler.

When using air conditioning (central air, window units, portable a/c, whatever you’ve got), keep all your windows shut to avoid losing that nice cool air. Also, use fans to circulate the cool air throughout your home, or shut the door to the room you’re trying to cool down.

Only use the air conditioner while you’re home, and don’t over-do it. Some systems have a self-modulation feature that adjusts the a/c’s output according to the room’s temperature. This way, you can sleep through the night at the perfect temperature, and don’t have to constantly adjust the a/c during the day. If you don’t have one of these snazzy contraptions (though maybe you should invest in one if it’s been a few years since you bought your current a/c… having an efficient machine is key), do the modulating yourself. There’s no need to sleep in an ice box because it cools down outside at night anyway (plus your own body temp lowers while you’re sleeping), so don’t set the temperature quite as low overnight.

Adjust the fan in your a/c according to the humidity: on less humid days, crank it to high; on very humid days, set it to low. The slower fan speed actually lowers the humidity.

Cooking and baking can add a lot of heat to your home, so grill outside instead, eat cold meals, or use the microwave.

Water can work miracles in helping your body cool down. If you have a yard, set up a pool and take a dip. If your apartment community has a pool, go there. Go to a public or country club pool. Go to your bathroom and hop in the shower or splash cool water on yourself at the sink or from a water bottle. The water evaporating off your skin will cause a nice cooling sensation.

Finally, this might sound silly, but if your house is stifling and you don’t want to spend on a/c, just go someplace else for the day. If you have a basement, it’s probably nice and cool down there. Go to any public place with a/c, such as the library (you have that summer reading list to work on, after all).

Looking for a cool place to live? Contact Prudential Realty Company to inquire about our current availability at any of our communities throughout Pittsburgh. Or, contact Alvern Gardens Apartments directly at alverngardens@yahoo.com or 412-561-4663. You’ll have to bring your own a/c, but we’ll provide the pool.

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