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Window Units and Your Utility Bill

1. Pros and Cons of Window Units

Whenever opening a window or cooling down with ceiling fans cannot get the job done, we turn to our AC. However, these units come with advantages and disadvantages.

Beginning with pros, window units are highly efficient and get the job done quickly by pulling all the hot air out and pushing it outside. If properly placed and sized, a window AC unit can cool up to 650 square feet. They are also widely available with many affordable deals out there. They tend to be relatively quiet so they come without any noise pollution. As water drains to the exterior, it does not need to be monitored and emptied which is another plus.

However, they can be a security risk if they are placed on ground level. Although there are security measures you can take, you’ll want to remove it if you’ll be away for a while. There is also the challenge of properly sized windows to fit the unit and having an electrical outlet in range. Although it’s good that water is draining outside, you can’t really direct it so if it’s inconvenient, there’s not much you can do about it. Last but not least, they are not pretty on the eyes and they certainly won’t fit in your exterior décor.

2. Window Units and Your Energy Bill

We know how efficient ACs are but the efficiency of a unit can be greatly reduced by leaky windows. Windows alone can account for up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy loss, which makes your AC work much harder and results in a skyrocketing energy bill.

In a nutshell, leaky windows equate to lost energy. But it’s not just drafts that drive energy costs up. Older homes tend to have single-pane windows. Double pane windows do a much better job at insulating a home or more precisely, at keeping heat out during the summer and keeping heat in during the winter. They are effective insulators thanks to having gases such as krypton and argon that are denser than air inserted between the two panes. To give you a better idea of their efficiency, just by replacing single-paned windows with double-paned ones, annual energy costs can be reduced by as much as 40 percent.

When on the market for new windows, look for the Energy Star label that guarantees they are 15 to 40 percent more energy-efficient than their traditional counterparts. If you want to go into more details, you want the lowest U value because this means less heat is transferred to the glass. The higher the R value, the higher the insulation. Also, don’t forget about the Solar Heat Gain coefficient which measures the amount of sunlight that transfers as heat through the windows to the indoors.

3. Lower Your Energy Bill With These Tips

Heart illness is a real thing and besides dizziness, headache and other unpleasant symptoms, it can even result in a heat stroke, which is why you should never put yourself at risk by wanting a lower bill. However, there are many safe things you can do to lower your ConEd energy bill and it is by adopting energy-efficient practices that will help you conserve energy and lower your energy bill.

Regular maintenance

Clean the filters regularly and replace them as needed. Clean the coils and clean away debris. Clear clogs.

Make sure your home is well insulated

It’s basic thermodynamics and the above described R value. Making your home better insulated means slowing down the rate at which outdoor air can pass through the walls, keeping indoor air in and outdoor air out.

Create a shade

When you let the sunshine in, it heats up your house just like a greenhouse. Thick curtains, Venetian blinds and shutters can reduce that solar gain. Shutters on the outside of the windows can block out sunlight before it even hits the glass. Plants and trees also provide a shade as long as they are placed strategically.

Add less heat inside

Less cooking, more raw meals such as salads. Run appliances at night. To keep your room cool, unplug devices when you are not using them. If you are using incandescent light bulbs, know that more than 80% of the electricity they use is being turned into heat rather than light so switch to LED to stay cooler and save money from your energy bill. You should also keep in mind that dark surfaces heat up a lot more in the sun so painting your house in lighter colors can help reduce the amount of heat it absorbs from the sun.

Takeaway

There’s no denying that air-conditioned comfort comes with a high price tag. According to Energy Star, nearly half of the average household’s summertime electric bill is spent on cooling the home. Fortunately, there’s no need to be miserable just to save money. By taking action aimed at achieving more energy-efficiency, you can significantly shrink your summer electric bill without having to melt in an overheated house or putting yourself at risk.

Irena Pavlović

Irena is a dentist, working extensively in her field as well as in the fields of fitness, nutrition and medicine. She has been educated about healthy lifestyles for years, helping others learn as much as possible. She seeks to help people adopt healthy habits as well as healthy and positive thinking about life. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, plays saxophone and guitar, and develops her own health page (salubriusvita.com). Her life motto is: When they expect a lot from you, you do even more.

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