The only thing higher than the sweltering summer temps outside may be your blood pressure upon viewing your latest energy bill. Local energy providers and electric cooperatives tend to provide strategies for cutting your costs with the onset of this much warmer weather.
Some are even somewhat sympathetic to skyrocketing costs as they’ll average your costs across the year—meaning you’ll pay approximately the same each month so it’s less of a hit on your bank account.
Believe it or not, there are simple things you can do to keep your cool—for less—short of swearing off the AC or installing high-priced solar panels. All You magazine shares several in its latest issue, and these are 10 of the easiest and most practical.
1. With your thermostat set at a steady 78 degrees, run a fan at the same time. It helps circulate cool air and even reduces the temperature in a room by 4 degrees.
2. Get even more cooling power from ceiling fans by changing them to run counterclockwise. Doing so helps create a downward draft.
3. Rather than turn your thermostat off when you’re gone, program it to 85 degrees. Set it to start cooling things off about an hour before you arrive. Turning it back to full blast when you return just makes it work harder.
4. Opt for compact fluorescent lightbulbs. They emit less heat and last longer than their incandescent counterparts.
5. Keep things cool by avoiding using the stove, washer and dryer, and other major appliances when temps are at their highest at midday. Go old school and hang your laundry on the clothesline to dry for even more energy savings.
6. Even when not in use, plugged-in electronics like TVs, cell phones and computers use energy. Use a power strip you can flip on and off for greater control over heat conservation.
7. When the sun’s beaming through windows, block the heat by closing the blinds and pulling the curtains. White curtains and honeycomb weave blinds are best for keeping cool.
8. Got a green thumb? Placing plants near windows can help soak up the sun—and its heat. Your best bet is positioning them at the south- and west-facing windows.
9. Take full advantage of the cooler temps below in the basement if you’ve got one. Beat the summer heat by planning a fun—and low-cost—family movie night in.
10. Use the hotter temps as an excuse not to cook—well, inside at least. Fire up the grill outside or use lower-heat emitting options like microwaves and slow cookers inside. Or take it a healthier step further and eat fresh, no-cook foods.