5 Ways to Reduce Summer Cooling Costs
After a very mild winter throughout most of the US, early spring temperatures have reminded us that summer isn’t far away. While all of us look forward to summer vacations, cookouts, and trips to the beach, we may dread the pinch on our wallets as it costs more and more to maintain a comfortable temperature in our homes.
Rising electricity prices force many families to make tough choices during the warmer months – do we turn on the air conditioner, or do we try to make do with open windows and ceiling fans? In some areas, it may be possible to survive the entire summer without air conditioning, but in others, it could be dangerous or even life-threatening. Here are five ways to stay cool all summer without breaking the bank.
- Choose a temperature and stick with it. Are you guilty of adjusting the thermostat in your home throughout the day? Even an adjustment of one or two degrees can impact how hard your air conditioner has to work, thus increasing your electric bill. Find a temperature that works for your family, and if you get hot, consider other ways to cool off without touching that dial.
- Have central air? Don’t turn it off. When I was a kid, my grandparents used to turn the air conditioning off any time they left their house. This was an effort to save money, but my grandfather admits now that he didn’t actually notice a difference in electricity consumption. That’s because the air conditioner is struggling to cool the house again each time it’s turned on instead of just maintaining the temperature.
- Invest in some fans. Whether you use ceiling fans, box fans, or a combination of both, don’t underestimate the cooling power of moving air. Fans use far less electricity than air conditioning and can make a big difference in indoor temperatures. They can also help keep your air conditioner from running constantly.
- Keep the cool air on the inside. This probably goes without saying, but we should all take steps to avoid wasting our efforts when it comes to cooling our homes. Minimize your trips in and out of the house when possible, and make sure to close exterior doors completely when you do come and go. Consider miniblinds and/or lined window treatments to prevent the sun from overheating the rooms in your home.
- Consider levelized billing. Many utility companies offer the option to average your monthly usage and pay a fixed monthly cost. This is a good option because you won’t have the sticker shock that comes along with summer electric bills. Levelized billing allows you to spread out higher summer cooling costs over the course of the year – just be sure you understand the process for your particular utility company before you agree to use the service.
What other methods do you use to stay cool and minimize electricity costs in the summer?