With the heatwave making its way across the country this week and A/Cs running overtime, how are you planning on keeping your utility bill down this month? Share your best energy-saving and cooling tips below to help other users in the community stay cool without the additional costs!
Here’s my tip:
Fans, fans, fans: Invested in an oscillating fan for shared spaces - which coincidently keeps me cool via my mesh office chair during the day and using a static fan to pull cool air up from the basement and into my family room.
If you can tolerate it, walk around barefoot inside. Socks and shoes trap heat around your feet, and I’ve found that when my feet are cool, the rest of my body doesn’t feel as warm. This is especially true when walking around on hard surfaces (rather than carpet).
I bought blackout blinds a few years back. So I close the blinds during the day. Light still get in the little cracks but you can still see inside. I also have an awning on the deck to shade the kitchen.
Regularly, I would open all my windows at night to let the cool air in. But not right now because it’s in the 80s at night.
I have a solar attic fan that pulls hot air out of the attic. It’s lowered the attic a good 20 degrees during the day.
@senseinaz Supercooling! Agreed … especially if you have a modest system that would otherwise struggle with the daytime heat load. That said, if you are in dry/cool nighttime location the “supercooling” can come from ample ventilation as others suggest. I think house ventilation/circulation is the most overlooked aspect of climate control and obviously in places like Florida it can be very difficult to do without increasing humidity.
A tip: Add THERMAL MASS to supercool!
(Same deal with a fridge/freezer … ice battery)
A significant thermal mass in my place is conveniently the kitchen floor (insulated concrete and tile) that sits below a loft and doesn’t get sun, so with careful pre-cooling and circulation it’s a good heatsink. And, funnily enough, because it’s got radiant heat in it and a floor sensor I have a convenient display (NuHeat thermostat) of it’s temperature!
I highly recommend getting a good quality no-contact (IR) thermometer like the Fluke 62 Max+ I use.
Seeing floor, wall, ceiling and window temperatures will quickly clue you in on what’s hot and what’s not.
Also, you can drive cats and partners crazy!
Getting familiar with and testing inflow and outflow temps on AC registers/returns or in a mini-split air handler is also a good way of calibrating your expectations. On very hot days with a modest temp drop at the AC output the time taken to cool will increase … when you most want it to be fast. Modern inverter-based fridges and freezers and AC systems all now become more efficient by running for long periods at moderate rates rather than switching on “full power” frequently. That flattens the ups and downs in temperature but it also makes for a slower ramping down.
Totally agree with …
BIG heatloss through hands, feet and head. Put feet in iced water.
My last tip is to use Sense to check your electrical heat load. The smaller and tighter the house, the more it matters. Account for electrical (device) heat output where the heat can’t escape or is localized. Gone are the days, hopefully, where people might have had 1kW of halogen lights in a big room that needed extra cooling to compensate … but as you look closer at Always On devices and so on you’ll probably use it to inform your shutdown routines, especially during summer peaks.
OVERCOOLING for DEHUMIDIFICATION
I recently had a Carrier two stage whole house AC installed along with a variable speed fan on the new furnace.
I chose a COR 7 thermostat over the Echobee because it had the Overcooling mode and I did not want another echo device.
After some experimentation with the settings I have now cruised through several 99-100 degree days on OVERCOOLING alone without going into full stage 1 AC mode.
Sense tells me that my AC (in this mode, which is all it has seen so far) is about 1600 watts.
My AC setpoint is 76 F but the house is staying at 74-75F with the humidity cycling from 48~55% according to the Cor7 which actually reads several points higher than my three digital humidity guages (all cheap).
I should say, the Cor7 seems to be designed by the Echobee folk for Carrier and the web and app products to support it are wanting.
Edit to add my AC is a three ton unit for size reference.