Keeping Down the Cost of Staying Cool

USAA Community Cost of Cool.jpgChances are, it's going to be a hot summer. With many of us staying home due to summer vacation cancellations, stop orders on planned PCS moves and working from home, how will we survive scorching temperatures without causing an enormously expensive electric bill? Here are some small and easy changes you can make that will reduce your energy bill (and your sweating)!


This is my favorite tip, avoid chores. I should be more specific (although if you would like to use this as an excuse to take a summer break from chores go ahead...), try not to run the heat generating appliances such as the dishwasher, dryer or oven during the peak heat of the day. Generally the hottest time of the day is between 1pm-4pm. Instead, try line drying your clothes, cooking outdoors and waiting to run the dishwasher or hand wash dishes at night when the temperature is cooler. These tasks make your house warmer, causing your air conditioning to work harder to keep the house cool.
Take advantage of ceiling fans, but only when you are in the room. Running the fan does not actually lower the temperature, so running it while you are not sitting underneath it, will not help your air conditioning run less frequently. Also, close the door to rooms that you are not using (for example, a guest room) and make sure the cooling ducts are closed in those rooms. Turn off lights when not in use. Lights produce heat, which makes your air conditioning system work harder (and costs more)!
Clean and replace air filters monthly for central air and individual window or wall units. Dirt and dust hinder air flow, reducing efficiency. If you have an outdoor air conditioning unit, make sure the area is clear of dirt and debris. You do not want anything to prohibit the flow of air into your unit. If your air conditioning unit is outdoors, be sure to remove any nearby dirt, leaves, weeds or debris on a regular basis. Make sure there is nothing blocking the unit (at least two feet surrounding it) to allow for adequate airflow.
Additionally, you can keep heat out by blocking sunlight from south and west facing windows. Do this by keeping blinds closed and hanging light colored curtains or drapes to block the windows.
Go green, literally, by planting a house plant such as a fern. According to this website, by having a house plant in direct sunlight the temperature in a room could be lowered by as much as four degrees. This simple step could cause your air conditioner to kick on less, saving you money each month. Cannot hurt to try!
Finally, ensure your windows and doors are sealed to prevent warm air flow into the house (double bonus, this will help keep out bugs).
Please share how you beat the heat this summer in the comment section. And remember, if all else fails, make yourself a cold drink with a little umbrella!


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