Summers and air conditioners – indeed a match made in heaven! But this relationship can turn sour pretty quickly when those electric bills roll in.
Your HVAC system uses most of the total electricity consumed in your home. On average, this can amount to several hundred dollars a month if you run your heating or cooling systems all day.
However, with a bit of extra help, you can cut that cost back significantly. Here are 16 top tips on how to stay cool this summer – on a budget!
16 Tips to Stay Cool This Summer While Saving Energy
1 Automate Your Home Climate Control
Saving energy doesn’t have to cost you your comfort. Use smart air conditioning to regulate your home temperature. You can schedule devices such as smart thermostats or smart AC controls to turn your AC off when you leave your house and turn them on well in advance before you return. These controllers also offer many other cool features to help you save up to 25% of your home’s energy consumption.
2 Adjust Your Thermostat
The lower your air conditioning settings, the higher will be your bill! Settle for a higher thermostat setting. For example, instead of cranking it up to 72 degrees, raise the thermostat setpoint by a few degrees to save money on air conditioning. You may make use of ceiling fans to compensate for the slightly raised temperature.
3 Let Mother Nature Help
Instead of using the AC in the cooler parts of the day, let in natural breezes to stay cool this summer. Open windows on opposite ends of the house when outdoor temperatures drop. This will create a cool cross breeze that keeps your home temperature in check.
4 Block Out Sunlight
Nothing heats your home like having a steady stream of sunlight flow in all day long. Use blackout curtains or blinds that completely block out sunlight. Not only does this give your home a nice relaxing aesthetic, but it also helps your AC out too.
The unit doesn’t have to work as hard because your home temperature isn’t as high, and you don’t have to worry about towering electricity bills.
5 Hack Your Windows
Install a solar film or screen over your windows. These films are reflective and can block up to 78% of the solar heat that comes in through your windows. In addition, solar films also block around 99% of the UV rays that enter your home and damage your health and furniture.
So not only will these films help you save money and stay cool in the summer, but they also keep your skin and furnishing safe.
7 Use Cooling Curtains
Cooling curtains are a great way to stay cool in the summer. Spritz your curtains with cold water, or hang a wet sheet over your windows. The wind blowing in through the damp curtains or sheets will evaporate the water and cool the air in your room. This hack works best on breezy days.
8 Add Shade to the Outside of Your Home
Plant trees around your house to keep the sunlight out. Plants are an excellent long-term solution. They will help you stay cool in the summer and purify the air around you. All the same, if you don’t have the patience to wait for trees to grow, you can install awnings outside your windows because they serve a similar role.
Deciduous trees grow leaves in the summer and springtime and shed them in the winters. These trees make an excellent choice for planting around your home because they block out the sun in summers but let it through in winters.
9 Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past! But, if you still haven’t switched them out for LEDs or CFLs, now is the time to do it. Traditional light bulbs give off up to 90% of their energy as heat, and only 10% of it comes off as light.
Since, on average, households have around 40 light sockets, all this heat can significantly raise your home’s temperature. You can up your savings even further by making sure that you turn off any lights you aren’t using.
10 Turn Off What You Can
“If it draws electricity, it generates heat.”
We tend to run many home appliances without considering just how much they heat our home. For instance, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and even TVs give out significant amounts of heat.
While we can’t turn the fridge off, we can avoid using other appliances such as dishwashers and dryers, especially during the warmest parts of the day. Make it a habit to turn off your devices when not in use because not only does it help you stay cool in the summer, it also saves you a whole lot of money.
11 Grill More
As if we need an excuse to grill out more! Cooking generates heat that warms up your home. Ditch stove-top or oven-baked meals and opt for food that doesn’t require cooking. Or, if you absolutely must, cook your meals during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings.
The best solution, though, is to try and keep the heat outside your home. You can achieve this by grilling (or get a solar oven if you’re feeling super fancy). Then, make it even better by inviting friends over. It’s the ideal solution to chill out, eat delicious food, and stay cool in the summer.
12 Check for Air Leakages
The same air leaks that let cold air into your home in winter also let cold air escape your home in the summer. Keeping in mind that you’re paying a steep price to cool this air, you want it to stay inside your house. So, seal any cracks or crevices around your home with caulk. Also, weatherstrip your doors and windows to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winters.
13 Schedule Regular Maintenance
HVAC systems need proper care and maintenance to keep working efficiently. Clean the air filter regularly since the dust and debris collected on the filter make your AC unit work harder than necessary.
If your unit is over a decade old, consult an HVAC professional and look into getting a replacement. While that would be a heavy investment upfront, it will save you money in the long run since newer units are generally more energy-efficient.
14 Insulate Your Home
Insulation is a smart investment for year-round energy savings. By blocking excess heat from getting into your home, insulation makes your AC’s work easier. Also, most types of insulation can be a DIY project, so you save money on the professional installation.
15 Make Use of Fans
Let’s face it; air conditioners are expensive! Of course, you can manage this cost with smart devices, but you’ll most likely have electricity bills piling into the hundreds if those aren’t an option. Another way around this is to avoid ACs altogether when it’s not too hot and use fans.
For summer, your fan should be running in the counterclockwise setting because it pushes cold air down towards you.
In case your space is too small for ceiling fans, or if you don’t want to make that investment, floor and box fans are good too. For floor fans, place a shallow bowl of ice in front of the fan for better cooling. Box fans are pretty nifty for creating a cross breeze in your home.
With your air conditioner off, place the box fan with blades facing the window to pull hot air out of your room. If you want to draw cool air in, position the fan to have the blades point away from the window. Take this to the next level by having two box fans on opposite ends of the house to help you stay cool in the summer heat.
16 Get an Attic Ventilator Fan
Attics can get pretty hot in the summer, sometimes hitting 150 degrees! An attic ventilator fan pushes hot air out of your home and draws in cooler air. It helps reduce the strain on your home’s air conditioning system. Thus, helping you stay cool in the summer without worrying about the electricity bills.
What We’ve Learned So Far:
It’s often challenging to balance trying to stay cool in the summer and wanting to save money. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Comfort doesn’t always mean big bills, and there are plenty of ways to keep your home’s temperatures in check without breaking your bank. Use these 16 tips and tricks to keep your cool all summer long!