How much can you save if the HVAC is turned off?
Many of us are motivated to live a “greener” lifestyle due to rising energy costs and growing environmental awareness. We, as consumers, are taking the necessary steps to reduce our fuel consumption and carbon footprints.
It doesn’t matter if your primary motivations are economic or environmental; some conveniences and luxuries are more challenging to give up than others. It’s easy to change a bulb, and driving to work in your compact car will bring you tangible rewards every time you fill it up at the pump. If you live in a place where the summer heat exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), you might be more inclined to give up your clothes than turn on your air conditioner.
The cost of Springfield, VA air conditioning can vary depending on how old and efficient the HVAC system is and where the house is located. However, a 2005 report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration found that 16 percent of American households used electricity to cool their homes. A/C can be responsible for 60% to 70% of your summer electricity bill if you live somewhere hot [source: Austin Energy]. What can a frugal, environmentally-conscious citizen do to make their A/C more efficient? Don’t let your A/C decide you are not allowed to use it. Continue reading to learn how much money you can save by turning off your A/C or setting your thermostat a little higher.
Save without Suffering
The average home with an air conditioner consumes over 2,000 kWh of electricity each year. This amounts to a cost of over $220 annually, at a rate of 11 per kWh. The actual cost per kilowatt-hour may vary depending on your location and size. However, if we use the averages, we can assume that turning off the AC could help us save $220 annually. Is it worth the cost? You are likely to answer “No!” if you live in the Deep South. If you add up the amount of energy required to cool your home to the millions of homes that have their central air on the hottest August day, you might be inspired to find ways to reduce cooling without having to turn off the A/C.
Extreme heat can be uncomfortable for most people, but it can pose a real threat to children and the elderly. The average death from heat waves in the United States is 700 per year. This figure is more than all of the deaths caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. As climate change leads to higher temperatures, this number could rise to as high as 5,000 per annum over the next few decades. How can we prevent heat stroke without adding more carbon to the atmosphere, making the problem worse?
A programmable thermostat that it can help you save an average of $180 per year on cooling and heating costs. It automatically adjusts temperature settings when you are away from your homes, such as work or school. If your Springfield VA air conditioner is older than ten years, you can replace it with an Energy Star-qualified model to save as much as 20% to 40% on cooling costs.
Energy Star recommends that you keep the temperature at 78°C while you are at home and 85° when you go out for the day. [source: Energy Star]. Your actual savings will depend on how big your home is and what temperature it is outside. However, raising the temperature by 2 degrees can help you save about 14 percent on cooling costs during the summer. Even if you have a ceiling fan, this can still offset the higher temperature.
Alternatives to A/C
You’ve probably lived in an older house if you haven’t used an air conditioner. Our grandparents knew some cool tricks that were useful in keeping the heat out and because their summers were cooler than ours. Although it might seem counterintuitive, closing the windows during the summer heat will keep the cool air in. Department of Energy estimates that a household could save between $100-250 per year by strategically planting three shade trees [source: Department of Energy]. While you wait for your trees’ growth, shrubs and grasses can be planted near your house to help prevent heat loss by shading lower parts of your walls.
Although they don’t cool the air, window fans and ceiling fans can make you feel cooler. A ceiling fan consumes 75 watts, compared to the 3,500 watts required to run a central air conditioner unit. Ensure that the fan pushes air down, not upward (most fans are reversible), and turn it off when leaving the room—fans only cool people and not spaces [source Energy Star].