Summer is here and with it comes summer air conditioning bills and some potentially miserable outdoor conditions.
Sure, it feels great to have your air conditioning running constantly to keep your house cool, but it utterly drains your wallet. If you’re smart, however, you can avoid running your air conditioner 24/7. Take advantage of several tactics for beating the summer heat without watching your energy meter spin out of control.
Here are six strategies you can employ to keep those energy costs nice and low.
Block sunny side windows. Sure, sunlight streaming through a window looks beautiful, but those sunny rays bring pure heat into your home.
The best strategy you can use is to cover up all windows on the sunny side of your house. The more dense the covering, the better, but even a simple curtain is better than nothing at all. Every little bit of direct sunlight you block from entering your home will keep your home just a bit cooler and allow your air conditioner to run a little less.
Leave windows open at night. Most nights, outdoor temperatures drop below the level of your air conditioning, so take advantage of it. Open your windows and let the cool air blow in.
Start doing this as early as possible, even in mid-spring. You might wake up to a cold house, but that means the house will be cool as the day warms up. The chill might be enough to prevent you from turning on the air conditioning all day long, which can be a great money saver.
Run ceiling fans the right way. A ceiling fan can be an inexpensive tool for keeping your home feeling cool, but it won’t cool down unless you set it to spin counterclockwise. Most air conditioners have a simple switch setting to make this work.
Blades that spin counterclockwise cause a downdraft and move air in the middle of room. This creates a simple wind chill effect, cooling skin and making higher indoor temperatures tolerable. We can set our air conditioning system at 78 or 80 degrees F with all the fans running counterclockwise in our home and the atmosphere feels fine, but without the fans, it feels very stuffy above 74 degrees F. That’s a huge daytime energy savings on a hot day.
Take cold showers multiple times a day. Cold water is cheap. Take advantage of it to cool yourself off, and take a quick cold shower a few times a day. The cost is minimal, and it will greatly lower your body temperature.
Plus, because you’re a bit cold when you get out, you’ll feel just fine in warmer temperatures for a while, so you won’t need to blast the air conditioning nearly as much to feel comfortable.
Hang out in the basement. In most homes, the basement is the coolest part of the house, so hang out down there. If it isn’t already, set up your family room in the basement so that it’s comfortable and enjoyable to spend family time and idle hours.
This is also a great reason to finish up an unfinished basement. In fact, make it into a summer project – it’ll keep you down in the relatively cool basement, add to the value of your home and make your basement a better “hang out” spot for the remainder of the time you live there.
Cook outside. Ovens and stovetops can heat up a house quickly, making an already warm kitchen stifling. No one wants that.
Instead, cook your meals outside as much as possible. Get a grill and prepare lots of grilled food. You can cook anything on a grill, from pizza to burgers and vegetable medleys to spaghetti. Trust me – I’ve done all those things.
Cooking outside keeps all the heat outside and doesn’t cause your air conditioning to run overtime just to eliminate all the cooking heat you create. That will have a very positive impact on your energy bill.
Summer energy bills can really be a pain, but if you use smart strategies like these, you can keep your air conditioning on a lower setting and save yourself some real cash this summer without having to suffer through a hot house. Keep your body cool and your budget low at the same time and when fall arrives, you will have enjoyed a great summer without breaking the bank.