With summer in full swing, you may have been shocked by your last electric bill. Almost anywhere you live, the summer heat can get to you, that’s why it’s smart to know some effective strategies to keeping your energy costs down, while still keeping yourself cool. You don’t always need to blast the air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Below are some of the best methods for keeping down your body temperature, and your air conditioning bill.
Keep Your Blinds Closed
During the day, keeping your blinds closed will drastically reduce the heat in your home. If you don’t keep them closed, it’s like a greenhouse effect, sunlight and heat pour in all day and can’t get out. This makes your home much warmer than it needs to be. If you just can’t stand the lack of natural light, then the next best thing is to keep those windows closed up that are getting direct sunlight.
And Keep Your Windows Open
This piece of advice is only for the nighttime. Otherwise, you’ll undermine everything you’re trying to accomplish. Lots of places significantly cool down once the sun is set, making it a free and easy way to cool down your home. One way to kick the hot air out even faster is to set up fans near the open windows. This way they’ll get the cool night air really circulating. And one of the best methods to accomplish this is have one window wide open (on the top floor if possible), while another is cracked on the other side of the house (preferably the first floor). Put a fan blowing out the open window to push warm air out while pulling in cool air at the same time.
Cool Your Kitchen
One of the hottest places in your home is the kitchen, and this is doubly true if you’re running the oven and the stove top. That’s why it’s best to keep any stove or oven cooking to a minimum, especially during the day. Instead, try grilling outside. It’s a way to save money, and have a delicious meal without turning your kitchen into a furnace. And if you do need to use the oven, just make sure that you turn on a fan to keep the air circulating.
Become a Night Owl
Try saving some chores that you usually do during the day for your evenings. This won’t just keep you cooler, but help your house stay cooler as well. One chore that especially helps to do in the evening is laundry. Dryers emit a lot of heat while they’re running. To make sure your dryer isn’t turning your house into an oven, try running it at night. But if you really need to do laundry during the day, another great way to cut down costs and heat is to dry with a clothing line. That way you’re making the summer heat do the work for you.
Take Care of Your AC
Making sure that your air conditioner is working efficiently is one easy way to lower your electric bill. If your AC is struggling to push cold air through your home, it’s going to suck up that much more energy. One of the best ways to ensure your AC is running smoothly is to regular change out the filter. You should change it out about every 30-45 days, but it’s often simpler just to change it out once a month. A clean filter not only makes your AC run more efficiently, it also keeps your house circulated with cleaner air. Additionally, you might want to get your unit checked out by a professional, to make sure it’s running optimally. And if your AC is old or not functioning correctly, you might consider getting a new AC unit that’s more energy efficient. It may cost you more upfront, but you’ll really save in the long run.
Watch Your Thermostat
If you want to keep your costs low, you shouldn’t be cranking the AC at all hours. A lower setting at night, and higher setting during the day is recommended. However, you might not always remember, or be around to change the temperature. This is why a programmable thermostat might be your best option. This allows you to schedule your temperature changes to meet the cycle of the day, even while you’re not there. Because you might want your home to be cool when you arrive, but without a programmable thermostat you’ll be cooling nothing but your furniture for most of the day.
Check Your Lights
Incandescent lights are nice, but they generate quite a bit of heat. By either keeping those lights off, or changing out your incandescent bulbs for something a little less hot, you’ll make a big difference. Especially if you’re spending a lot of time underneath lights during the day because your blinds are closed.
Swap Your Sheets
We all love comfortable, warm sheets, but in the summer those same sheets you loved earlier in the year might just have become your worst enemy. Switching out to a lighter sheet material, and lighter blankets, can really lower your temperature while sleeping. Meaning, that you can in turn save money by not having your thermostat so low at night.
Make Your Own Shade
One more measure that can be taken is focusing on the outside of your home. Planting trees or other greenery near windows to maximize shade is a great long-term plan for keeping your house cool. Alternatively, if you can’t plant, then look to add awnings and shutters to the outside of your windows. This too will help block out a lot of sunlight, and therefore a lot of heat.
A Final Piece of Advice
Keeping your AC costs down isn’t all about keeping your home cool, it’s also about keeping yourself cool. Efficient air conditioning practices will save you a noticeable amount of money. If you’re not focusing on acclimatizing and making sure you wear proper summer attire, then all the tips in the world won’t keep you from cranking down on that thermostat. In other words, in all that focusing on your home, don’t neglect yourself either. And since July is National Ice Cream Month, treat yourself to a big scoop of ice cream! It’s the perfect way to cool off, don’t you think?
About the Author: Eric Todd is a DIY enthusiast and self-proclaimed handyman who enjoys blogging about saving energy and helping people feel more comfortable while saving money on air conditioning.