The only thing worse than the scorching summer heat is the cooling bill that follows. If you’re one of the millions each year who gets stuck with an astronomical cooling bill each summer, you have come to the right place.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan can make a room seem much cooler, which allows you to turn up the thermostat a few more degrees and save more money. Use fans when you come home to find out you forget to turn on the air conditioner. Open a window and set a fan pointing away from the open window but facing toward another exit. This should push the warm air right out of the door.
Get Your Cooling Unit Serviced
While it may cost a little bit upfront, it will save you a great deal over the long run. Get your air conditioning unit serviced in April or May to beat the last-minute rush. Replacing your air conditioner filters regularly will also help lower your costs.
Crank the thermostat up a degree or two. You won’t notice much of a difference, but your cooling bill will be much easier to swallow.
Stay Out of Direct Sunlight
Where your home sits on the lot can make a difference in how much your cooling bill is each month. To save a little money, plant trees outside to provide shade to your home and install drapes and blinds to keep the sun out and the cool air in.
The heat from your stove or oven can quickly make any house feel like a furnace. So get a little fresh air by grilling out, and save a little money in the process.
Start the Cool Air Early in the Morning
Do not let the heat have a chance to get started. Keep doors and windows closed from the time the sun starts to rise until it sets. If you are gone all day but home before the coolness has returned, run the air conditioner on low. If you are worried about the electric bill, get a timer and set it to start the air a couple of hours before you get there.
Avoid Using Appliances
Avoid using any appliances that would increase the heat in your house or the illusion of heat. Cook outside or make sandwiches in the early evening. Run the washer and dryer at night, or hang your clothes out to dry. Avoid using the dishwasher. Doing dishes by hand during the summer can keep the humidity out of your house and increase the coolness. Remember that humidity increases the heat you “feel” in the room.
Don’t Use Your Oven
The stove and oven are small heaters that will quickly make your house stifling – especially when you use them during the hottest part of the day. Cook at night when it is cooler, or stick with foods you don’t need to cook on the stove.
Plan for the Future
Plant shady trees around the house. As they grow, they will provide a break from the glaring sunlight! Trees, alone, can lower the temperature of your house.
Redesign your basement and create a summer living space. The basement is naturally cooler and can be quite comfortable. Add a living room, bedroom, and a little kitchen area.
Warm air can escape from windows and doors during the winter, but it also allows hot air in during the summer. Buy new door sweeps for your outer doors, and make sure your windows close tightly. You may want to keep plastic window insulation up during the summer to keep cooled air from escaping.
Shade Your House
Shady houses don’t need to use the A/C as often, if at all. Plant trees and tall shrubs near your house, and keep your windows shaded. Close your blinds during the day, or install shade cloth. Hang this heavy-duty cloth like an awning over your windows, patios, and doorways, and you may find your house up to 10 degrees cooler.
The Window Trick
Open your windows at night – even put a box fan in the window to blow cool air into your house – and close the windows in the morning. Trap the cool air in your house and use your air conditioner less. Keep the box fans or ceiling fans on to keep the air flowing and cool.
Foods To Cool You Off
Hot foods are just going to make you feel hotter. To stay cool without your A/C, eat salads, chilled soups, and fresh fruits and veggies. Spicy foods will also make you feel cooler because they make you sweat, and the evaporation will cool you off.
Reflect the Sun
The sun beating on your roof and siding is making your house hotter. In very hot places, look into reflective shingles and try painting your house with reflective paint. Glass beads in both these products reflect the sun’s rays, keeping your house cooler.
Use Your Air Conditioner Less
This is an obvious solution to cutting your cooling bills, but you don’t have to give up using your unit completely. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to cool your house about an hour before you return home so you’re not cooling an empty house all day.
If you are home, turn on the A/C only when you notice it becoming hot inside – if you left your windows open overnight and closed your blinds during the day, you may only have to use the A/C for a few hours in the afternoon.