As warmer weather approaches, there may be something else that’s getting ready to skyrocket: your electric bill. Keeping your home air conditioned requires a lot of energy as temps creep up, and that’s not the only thing raising your bill. Electricity rates rise with summer temps due to increased overall usage. Simply put, everyone on your block including you has their AC cranked, and that’s gonna cost you. Fortunately, there are 5 easy things you can do to save on cooling costs this summer.
Raise the temp on your thermostat
This one’s pretty obvious, right? The lower the temperature your thermostat is set to, the harder your AC will have to work to keep up. Even raising your thermostat by one or two degrees can translate to a significant savings in the warmer months. Try to put off turning on your AC for as long as you can, and when you do turn it on, aim for the highest temperature that feels comfortable to you. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 78 degrees when you are home and even higher when you’re away.
If this sounds a little too balmy for you, aim for 75 or 76 degrees, and run a fan to keep air circulating (like this one, which doubles as a space heater during cold months). This will make it feel cooler but won’t stress your AC. Just make sure to keep those fans off when you aren’t in the room!
Keep fans running in the right direction
As we just learned, fans are your friend in the summer time. Although they require some electricity to function, the cost to operate a fan is significantly less than the cost to cool your entire home even one additional degree. Make sure your ceiling fans are running in the right direction, though. During summer, they should be turning counter-clockwise when you look up at them. Don’t run fans when you aren’t in the room as they don’t cool the air; they simply move it, which makes it feel cooler against your skin. If you’re going to be away for a few days, unplug fans for extra savings on your electric bill.
Keep the heat out
Another great way to save on cooling costs in summer is to keep the heat out. Think about it: if your home is already cool, your AC won’t have to work as hard to keep it that way. There are plenty of ways to keep heat out (sealing cracks and drafts, keeping doors and windows closed, etc.) but one of the easiest and most efficient ways is simply drawing your curtains closed during the day.
Close your curtains each morning before leaving for work, and then open them once the sun no longer shines directly on them in the evening. Without the strong summer sun shining into it, your home will stay cooler naturally. Super simple.
If you’re home during the day and prefer a lot of natural light (like I do), try closing only the curtains on the east side of your home in the morning and only those on the west side in the afternoon.
Tune up your air conditioner
No matter how many ways you try to save on cooling costs, your efforts are going to be pretty fruitless without a properly functioning air conditioner. Call a local HVAC company and schedule to have your unit tuned up at the beginning of the summer. It’s important to do this early for two reasons: First, a tuned up AC will run more efficiently all season long. Second, the HVAC tech will be able to spot any problem areas that might cause your system to break down soon. Catching it early and getting a budget in place for repairing or replacing your AC will turn out much better for you than wondering mid-July why your house suddenly seems unbearably hot.
Use your grill
One way to save on cooling costs that a lot of people don’t think about is food preparation. It turns out, though, that your husband is right: you should be grilling in the summer as often as you can. Though there is some cost associated with using a grill, whether gas, charcoal, or electric, that cost is going to be significantly lower than what you will end up paying for your AC to battle the residual heat from your oven.
Baking something in the oven can keep your kitchen warm for hours, even after you’ve turned it off. By using your grill, you’re keeping that heat where it belongs: outside. If you must cook indoors, use the microwave whenever possible or bake dishes for multiple meals at the same time.
These beyond easy changes can add up to a significant energy savings throughout the course of summer. Simply set the thermostat a little higher, make sure fans are turning in the right direction, close your curtains when the sun is strongest, have your AC checked, and cook those burgers outside on the grill. By implementing these 5 ways to save on cooling costs this summer, you should be able to keep your cool when it’s time to pay your electric bill.
What other tricks do you have for saving during the summer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!