Why has Baja California Sur become a popular vacation and retirement destination? The main reason is it’s sunny 365 days a year. Although in the winter this is great for people running away from the harsh cold winters up north, in the summer it could be a death sentence. Okay, let’s not exaggerate, but that high electricity bill will surely make you uneasy.
And we’re not talking about June to August, realistically speaking, Baja’s summers run through October. So, what’s the solution? Spending the whole day in the pool? That would be great but nope. There are some simple ways to reduce your cooling costs whether it’s your home or condominium, it will help the environment at the same time. A win-win situation.
Here are ten simple ways to reduce your cooling costs this summer:
Use ceiling fans:
It’s important that in the summer you make sure your fans are going counterclockwise, this way the cool air is brought downwards. By using your fans, you can make your home feel up to 6 degrees cooler, which can result in adjusting your thermostat 6 degrees higher, saving 1 percent per degree on your power bill. Additionally, fans help disperse cooled air more efficiently.
Close your curtains, blinds, shades:
In the summer, keep your blinds, curtains and shades completely shut to block out the heat; you will be able to reduce heat gain up to 45%. If you have drapes, make sure to change them in the summer to light colors with white-plastic backings which also helps to reduce heat gain. You can also allow shrubbery and plants grow over your windows to create awnings which provide more shade allowing less heat to enter through your windows.
Seal your windows:
If there are any cracks or gaps in your windows, or if you can see light through the crack below your door, odds are you’re losing cool air. Hence, it is essential for you to find and fix these areas.
Avoid heat build-up:
Whenever it’s hotter outside than inside, try to avoid activities that will generate heat, such as cooking on the stovetop or using a dryer. These heat-generators make your AC work overtime making you pay “overtime”. If it is impossible to stop doing these activities, try doing them in the evening when the temperatures drop. TVs, computers and other household appliances are big heat-generating sources, avoid them and save money on your bill.
Your AC needs a check-up:
Energy Star says that regular maintenance helps your AC work more efficiently. I know, it’s annoying to call the contractors, wait around for them to arrive and do their job, and don’t even get me started on the mess they leave behind, but in the end there are several benefits, hear me out: Your AC will work more efficiently, you will save money on your bill and you can nip problems in the bud which otherwise down the road, could cost you more.
Replace your filter:
A dirty filter is like a cold for your AC. Can you do your job when you have a cold? Yes, but it takes more effort. Same happens with your AC, so help it out and help yourself out. If your AC is working harder due to a dirty filter, it’s using more electricity, which is adding up to that little number on your bill. Ideally, AC filters should be replaced every month, but every three months should also be okay. By replacing your filters, your power consumption can be reduced from 5% to 15%.
Lock your doors and windows:
It’s so simple, yet so important. When your doors and windows are locked, they are usually pulled tighter towards their frames, hence no cool air gets out.
Bulk up on shade:
Plants and shrubs are your allies in reducing cooling costs. Try planting them near the south and west side of your house in front of windows. Not only do they block heat from entering, they absorb it and provide coolness from their transpiration. I know, amazing. They are actually better at absorbing heat than your walls and roof which radiate heat day and night. So, have yourself a little gardening day and save money.
Light colors and roofs:
Is anyone up for running at 2 p.m. in black yoga pants and a black T-shirt in mid-July? Ummm…no. The same happens with your roof, even though you might think it doesn’t matter, trust me it does. If your roof is dark colored, in the summer, it can reach temperatures up to 105°F. On the other hand, a light colored roof in the same conditions can stay up to 50 degrees cooler.
Adjust your AC thermostat:
Always remember to set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible, especially when you’re sleeping. We tend to come home burning up and turn our AC on as cool as possible. However, turning your AC on a cooler setting will not cool rooms any faster. The amount you’ll pay is directly reflected on the difference between the outdoor temperature and the indoor temperature. The bigger the difference, the more your AC will have to work, therefore you’ll pay more. I know you’re desperate to cool off, but keep in mind at what cost you’re doing so.
Even though everything is cheaper in Mexico, electricity is quite expensive. Follow these simple tips and save bucks this summer.