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Keep Your House Cool Without Running up Your Electric Bill

July 28, 2020

Young playful girl on the floor smiling at a colorful electric fan

These hot days of summer can force even the most frugal among us to click on the air conditioning. But running the A/C can cause a blow to the household budget and increase carbon emissions.

Here in Eugene, a typical room air conditioner running 24/7 will add about $21 a week to your electric bill. If you have a Ductless Heat Pump (DHP), cooling your house around the clock will cost around $9 a week.

In addition to the budget impact, cooling your home can warm the planet.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners add roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year—the equivalent of 30 coal-fired power plants.

If you're looking for alternatives to A/C, here are five no-cost, tried and true ways to keep cool, save money and stay efficient.

1. Let the night air in

After sunset when the outside temperature dips, open your windows and leave them open throughout the night. By morning, your house will be nice and cool. Just be sure to close all the windows before it starts to heat up outside.

2. Keep it dark

Use curtains or shades to keep sunlight from warming your home. If you still want a little sunlight, open the curtains on windows that don't face the sun directly. Bonus tip: Shading OUTSIDE the window is most effective, because it stops the sun's heat before it can enter through the window.

3. Become a fan of fans

Fans use less energy than AC units and can extend the comfortable temperature range of your home. Just remember that fans cool people, not rooms. Turning off the fan when you're not in the room to enjoy the benefits will help save energy.

4. Create a cross-breeze

At night and in the early morning hours, when it's cooler outside than inside, use fans in windows to pull cool air in and draw warm air out.

5. Power down

Appliances can produce unnecessary heat. In the kitchen, using slow cookers, pressure cookers or microwaves, will keep your home cooler than the stove or oven. Wait until you have a full load to run your clothes washer and dishwasher and run them in the evening when it's cooler. Using energy during "off peak" hours can also help reduce carbon emissions.

If you need air conditioning

If you decide air conditioning is a necessity for you, be sure the model you choose is Energy Star rated. And if a major upgrade is part of your plans, consider a Ductless Heat Pump. Ductless systems provide significant bill savings, improve air quality, and offer year-round comfort with a built-in air conditioner.

EWEB offers rebates and loans to help with the upfront cost of ductless systems, including expanded rebates for rentals and income-qualifying customers.