Summer is in full swing – are you feeling the heat? Not only are temperatures rising, but your energy bill may be as well. While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can save money on your air conditioning. Here are some of the best strategies that we’ve discovered to cut your cooling costs this summer.
While this may not immediately affect your bottom line, planting trees can cut your cooling costs in the long run. As they mature they will provide natural shade. Keeping the direct sunlight out of your home can cut the inside temperature noticeably. If you’re in a hurry, plant some quick-growing varieties, such as hybrid poplar or weeping willow.
Install a programmable thermostat
Have you changed out your older thermostat for a newer model yet? Installing a new, programmable thermostat is simple and can save you money on your energy bills year round. You can program your system to be a few degrees warmer while you’re away, and have it come back on a few minutes before you normally return home. You can save a staggering 20 percent on your bill with this simple switch.
Draw the curtains
While you may love to let the sunshine in, you can save a pretty penny by keeping those curtains closed during the day. Keep blinds and shades closed as well as curtains to keep temperatures cool. Alternatively, you can get solar screens that reflect up to 70 percent of solar energy before it gets into your home.
Clean your air conditioner
Regular maintenance of your air conditioner will also help to keep your costs down. During months of heavy usage, you may want to consider replacing the filter every 30 days or so. Your system has to work harder when the filter is dirty, which costs you more. An added side benefit is that your indoor air will be cleaner, too.
Hang out in the basement
If you have a finished basement, you should put it to good use in the summer. Basements naturally stay several degrees cooler than the other floors of your home. You can turn the temperature a few degrees higher and still stay cool downstairs. If you’ve been looking for a reason to create a man cave, then this is it.
Stay out of the kitchen
Using the oven on a hot summer day only adds to the heat inside your home. And anyway, who wants to be stuck inside on a beautiful day? Take advantage of the season and cook your meals outside on the grill. Or you could opt to have meals that don’t require heat for preparation. Besides, those salads will be helpful to that summer diet you’ve been meaning to follow.
Switch to LED lights
Finally, if you haven’t switched to LED bulbs yet, now is the time to do it. LED bulbs use less energy to operate and they emit less heat than incandescent or compact fluorescent lights do. While you may pay a little more upfront for the LED bulbs, you will definitely see cost savings in the long run.