When it comes to summer savings, “Less is more,” or so they say. Keeping your summer bills down without breaking a sweat is possible, and though summer may be sweltering, your bills don’t have to be. So before you start cranking up the AC, take a look at a few tips to help you stay cool for less this summer.
Heat Always Rises to the Top, and So Will Your AC Bill If You Don’t Follow These Tips
Remember way back in physics class when your teacher would say how heat always rises to the top? It may not have resonated with you then, but it definitely should now. Heat can easily build up in the house, especially during summer months and especially if your home is older (since most older homes have a harder time moving air about). Using the oven or microwave during prime daylight hours gives off a lot of heat, and whenever I do a load of laundry in the afternoon my home instantly becomes a sauna. Limit your laundry use to early morning hours or, if possible, later in the day. Though it may be a bit inconvenient, it will help lessen your urge to touch the thermostat.
Speaking of your thermostat, a good rule of thumb is to never set your thermostat below 75 degrees. If you go any lower you could be looking at some real sweat-inducing costs.
And if you’re finding that 75 degrees isn’t cutting it (and it should—I mean it does for me and I live in Florida), start investing in a few portable fans. Check out this website for a look at a few different models.
When to Change Your AC Filter
According to Allstate, your AC filters should be changed about once every three months. An unchanged filter can restrict air flow, which in turn makes your air conditioner work harder. And you know what that means, right? It’s going to cost you more. A new filter is about $10-20, and if you can’t remember the last time you changed yours, then that probably means you need to. I once went two years without changing my filter (bad, I know), but when I finally did I saw a dramatic drop in both how cool my home was and how much cheaper my bill was.
Also read: 5 Everyday Expenses That Are Ripping You Off
Who Turned Out the Lights?
Ok. I’ll admit it: I’m a compulsive light turner-on-er (Is that even a word?) One of the easiest ways to cut back on summer costs is to keep the lights off. It’s bright in the summer—sometimes too bright—yet I have this really wasteful habit of turning a light on whenever I walk into a room. If you find yourself doing that too, don’t!
You can raise the blinds if you need to; just make it a conscious effort to not turn on the lights in the daytime. I’ve often found myself turning lights on unconsciously, and since it’s already so bright inside I don’t even realize it. Sometimes I’d leave the lights on for days at a time, or until they would burn out—whichever comes first.
Getting Down to Earth
Summer’s also a great time to exercise your green thumb. Not only are a few well-placed shrubs and trees aesthetically pleasing, they also help shade your home. In addition to adding some shrubbery around the house, be sure to keep your blinds and windows down during summer months. When it comes to your air conditioner, the less space it has to cool, and the less sunlight that’s entering the house, the more efficient it will be.
Aside from making sure all the windows are closed when the AC is on, make it a habit to keep all doors closed in the rooms you aren’t using. For instance, if you’re downstairs when the AC is on, make sure all the rooms upstairs are closed.
Remember: A little goes a long way when it comes to your bills, and when something as easy as closing a door or turning off a light can help you save, there’s no reason not to do it! So replace that air filter, keep those doors closed, do your laundry later in the afternoon, and limit your AC use.
How have you been able to stay cool during the summer? We’d love to hear your tricks. Let us know in the comments section below.