Looking to get a windowed air conditioner to keep your house or apartment cool? There are a few things to consider when looking to get a window AC unit. You need to select one that is appropriately sized for the room you’re cooling. Window units are not designed to cool an entire house; rather they are only for cooling one room.
For a room up to 350 square feet, you need a unit with 5,000 to 8,000 BTUs of cooling. A room up to 550 sq ft needs up to 12,000 BTUs, up to 1050 sq ft needs up to 18,500 BTUs, and up to 1600 sq ft needs up to 25,000 BTUs. In addition, you need to take into account the normal conditions of the room being cooled. Is that part of the house shaded or is it generally much hotter? Do you have the capacity to install a large unit in the room in question?
You also want to look for a unit that is efficient. On the specifications for the AC unit, there should be a listing for EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher this number is, the more efficient the air conditioner is. This means that you will cool more air for less electricity.
When installing the AC, make sure you have someone to help you. Window units are very heavy and can be unwieldy to hold and maneuver. If possible, install the unit on a north facing window; this side is most shaded during the course of the day and it will allow your AC to work more efficiently.
Shopping around for a new energy provider can seem overwhelming at first, but once you know what steps to take, it’s actually pretty easy. The first thing you want to ask yourself is “Is it time to switch?” Make sure that you are at the end of your contract term (you will receive a letter from your provider when the contract is almost up) or that you are on a no-contract plan. If you back out of a contract before it ends, you could be hit with an early termination fee.
The next question to address is “Where do I begin?” That question is easy! You can visit us online and start shopping around for a better electricity rate! We will help you compare several companies at a time, showing you their rates and plan features all in one place.
After that, the question becomes “Variable or fixed rate?” Variable plans change their rates every month according to market conditions. Fixed rate plans lock in your rate so it won’t be affected by market conditions for the duration of your contract. There are also prepaid plans, but those tend to have higher rates and require a lot of scrutiny to make sure you don’t use all your electricity up in a short amount of time.
“What are the fees?” is another good question. Every plan on a provider’s website or on our comparison lists has something called an EFL, or Electricity Facts Label. The EFL spells out the details of a specific plan, including the rate breakdown and any fees. Some fees are assessed for using too little electricity, some are for backing out of the contract early. Take a close look at the EFL so you know what the fees would be with the selected plan.
If you are renting an apartment, condo, or loft; energy efficiency can seem out of your hands. Just because you cannot make fixtures the place you are renting does not mean you limit you from being energy efficient in it.
Here are some ways renters can save on their energy costs:
- Using CFL bulbs or LED bulbs save about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. You can get yourself from the local hardware store and replace the bulbs in your home.
- Make sure that the maintenance department of the place you are renting replaces the air filter in your air cooling system, or central air system. If you live in an apartment, a simple maintenance request can check your air filter, or if you are renting a home ask your landlord about how the air filter can get checked. A dirty air filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder. A clean air filter can save you up to $180 per year on energy costs.
- If your water heater is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit it can save huge on energy costs, and your water bill of course.
- Adjust the refrigerator to about 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit so your fridge is not overworking itself – this will save towards your electric bill each month.
- Caulk window corners that have leaks with weather stripping caulking glue from your local hardware store. The cool air and warm air will not leak through during the summer and winter.
- Close curtains and shades at night.
- Add window shades during the warmer months to keep cool air in. Ask your local hardware store about shades for your windows. An alternative is to add aluminum foil to your windows during the summer. This budget friendly method will also reflect heat away from your windows.
- Unplug any appliances and electronics when not in use, or use a power strip to power them all off at once.
- Make sure the exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen stove, are off within 20 minutes after cooking or showering.
- Ask your landlord or apartment complex if your thermostat is programmable. Programmable thermostats will auto turn off while you are away from your apartment/home.
The best way to make these energy saving tips go the extra mile for those who are renting, is a low electricity rate. If you have control over who is your electricity company, then take advantage of that. Switch electric providers is the most energy efficient method and will put extra savings in your pocket. You can sign up for a month to month plan, or however for a plan for the length of your lease. Stop overpaying on your electricity costs today!