Written by Bernie Carr
This summer is definitely a scorcher. As I write this, much of the country is experiencing intense heat. As the heat intensifies, so does the cost of our electricity bills. Trying to keep our homes cool and comfortable leads to soaring energy costs. However, there are practical and effective ways to beat the heat without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore 15 actionable tips to help you lower your electric bill during the hot summer months while staying cool and energy-efficient.
Optimize Your Thermostat Settings
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to save on your electric bill is to adjust your thermostat wisely. Set it to a higher temperature while you are away from home or during the night when temperatures naturally drop. Using a programmable or smart thermostat allows you to schedule temperature changes automatically, optimizing energy usage and reducing costs.
One thing we are also trying is to get used to a warmer setting with our air-conditioner. We previously lowered it to 74 degrees (F) at night, and are now keeping it at 77 degrees (F) all day and all night.
Embrace Fans for Personal Cooling
I stayed at my brother’s house and was surprised to find out he does not use this air-conditioner at all, even in the middle of summer. Instead, he has a portable fan that doubles as an air purifier in every room.
Fans are an economical and energy-efficient way to stay comfortable during the summer.
Ceiling fans create a cooling effect in your rooms, allowing you to raise the thermostat a few degrees without compromising comfort. Remember to turn off fans when you leave the room, as they only cool people, not spaces.
Seal and Insulate your Home
Air leaks in your home can have a significant impact on cooling costs. Inspect windows, doors, and any other potential gaps, then seal them with weatherstripping or caulk. Proper insulation, especially in the attic, can also reduce heat transfer and save energy.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Older appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines can consume more energy than their newer, energy-efficient counterparts. Consider upgrading to appliances with the ENERGY STAR label to reduce your electricity usage and save on cooling costs.
Maintain your Air-conditioning System
Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit is essential for optimal performance. Even though you may not own your space, you can still replace air filters on a regular basis, and ensure proper airflow by keeping vents unblocked. A well-maintained AC operates more efficiently and costs less to run.
Use Curtains and Blinds Wisely:
Sunlight can heat up your home, making your AC work harder. Use curtains, blinds, or reflective window films to block out or reflect sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. I added black-out curtains to our bedroom which have helped keep the room cool. Having a dark room at night also helps optimize sleep. This simple step can significantly reduce indoor temperatures and lessen your reliance on air conditioning.
Try Natural Cooling Methods
Take advantage of cooler evening and early morning temperatures by opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate. Use natural ventilation whenever possible to reduce your reliance on air conditioning during milder weather.
Switch to Energy-efficient Lighting
Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy as heat. Switch to LED or CFL bulbs, as they generate significantly less heat and last longer. Not only will this lower your cooling costs, but it will also reduce your overall energy consumption.
Unplug Electronics and Appliances
Even when turned off, electronics and appliances in standby mode can still consume power. Unplug chargers, gaming consoles, and other gadgets when not in use. Consider using power strips to easily disconnect multiple devices at once.
Unplug Electronics and Appliances
Avoid using the oven or stovetop during the hottest parts of the day, as they can increase indoor temperatures and force your AC to work harder. Instead, opt for quick meals that require minimal cooking or use outdoor grills and microwaves, which produce less heat.
Unplug Electronics and Appliances
Dirty filters and vents can obstruct airflow and decrease your air conditioner’s efficiency. Clean or replace filters regularly and ensure that vents remain unblocked to improve cooling performance and save energy.
Utilize Window Coverings Strategically
Invest in thermal or blackout curtains to insulate your windows, keeping hot air out and cool air in. This simple addition can significantly reduce your indoor temperature and lower cooling costs during the summer.
Create Shade Outdoors
If you have an outdoor space, consider planting shade trees or installing awnings or pergolas. By creating shade around your home, you can reduce the heat absorbed by the walls and roof, making it easier to keep the interior cool.
Use Heat-Generating Appliances at Night
Appliances like dishwashers and dryers produce heat when in use. To prevent adding to the heat during the hottest parts of the day, run these appliances at night when the temperatures are cooler, or use them during off-peak hours when electricity rates may be lower.
Consider a Whole-house Fan
A whole-house fan is an energy-efficient alternative to air conditioning. It draws cool air in from outside and pushes warm air out, effectively cooling your home without the high energy consumption associated with AC units.
The Final Word
Lowering your electric bill during a hot summer doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. By implementing these 15 easy tips, you can stay cool, comfortable, and energy-efficient without straining your finances. From optimizing your thermostat settings to embracing natural cooling methods, each step plays a crucial role in slashing your electricity bill during the scorching summer months. Embrace these practical measures, not only for the sake of your wallet but also for a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Stay cool, save money, and beat the heat this summer!
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About the author
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper, and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears on sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.