7 ways to cut summer cooling costs

Summer is here ladies and gentlemen. Schools out, vacations are set, and the temperature is rising. If you’re like me, then you are already sweating.  I am a very hot blooded individual, so summertime is not my favorite time of year.  Now, you may ask why not, everyone loves the summer right?  Well, since I don’t get the summer off from work, then why is it so special?

The gas prices are up, temperature is too high, and there are a ton of people traveling. Not only that, but airfare and hotel costs are high. No thanks!  Give me spring or fall any time and I will be a happy camper, literally. I will go camping.

Another reason I don’t like the summer is that dreaded energy bill. There is no mystery that one uses more energy in the summer.  Your air conditioner doesn’t like you much during this time, but the a/c repair guy does ;).

Related ReadShould you turn off your AC while away to save money?

If you’d like to cut that energy bill during the summer, then here are seven ways to reduce your energy costs this summer. They are simple to follow and I do almost every one of them.  Check out below the infographic to see some of my expanded tips based on these suggestions.

And before you ask, it does save you money to turn off your A/C when you are out.  You can easily do that with a programmable thermostat.

7 Ways to Reduce Your Summer Energy Bill

Open Your Windows

This is such a simple, yet effective tip. Almost every night, my wife and I open our windows to let in the cool air.  Add the fan to the mix and you will have a cool nigh breeze swirling around your room.  This only works if the night air is cooler than your house.  Do not keep the air conditioner running at night if you are doing to do this. That would be a massive waste of energy.

Clean Your Air Filters

Another easy tip that so many forget to do.  Cleaning your a/c air filters can not only increase the longevity of your system, but can reduce the load on it.  When your filters are filled with dust and dirt, it makes it harder for the system to pull air in to cool it down.  When  it strains to pull air in, it has to work harder and longer.  The harder and longer it works, the more money it will cost you.

We have some weird size filters for our system. They are hard to find in home improvement stores. For this reason, I just buy them from Amazon and get them shipped for free with Amazon Prime.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Are you still running the old thermostat where you have to manually move the temperature up and down? Shame on you!  Get a programmable thermostat. I have had one in my old home since we bought it and our new one has a great one. They are the easiest way to save money.  If you want to have some cool technology, then check out the Nest. It will learn over time when to run your a/c based on how you come and go. It is pretty cool.

My current house has a Honeywell 7-Day touchscreen programmable thermostat and I love it. It was already in there, but I would buy one if I needed one.  It works really well and I like being able to set different schedules for 7 days.

Use the Grill Baby!

I am always down with grilling! I love to grill assorted foods.  I loved this tip because when you grill outside, you don’t heat up your house. When you use the oven in the summertime, you can guarantee you will add heat into your home. If you have the ability to grill, then fire it up!  By the way, I go with a charcoal grill over a gas. It is just personal preference.

Seal Your Leaks

I never really worried about this at our old house, but then I realized our cool air was rushing under our front door. That is a huge energy waster and it doesn’t help you much.  I went and bought some door weather stripping and some caulk, I took care of that problem quickly.

Now with our older home, I know our windows are probably letting our cool air out. I will be doing the same thing and sealing those bad boys up.  No need to let our hard earned cold air go to the dogs.

Upgrade Your Energy Wasters

While this is a simple tip, it can be expensive.  I wouldn’t recommend this unless your old appliance dies.  The cost is just prohibitive for most people, but you need to think about it when you are due for a new appliance. I did just install some energy efficient lights in our kitchen which should help reduce the heat and save us money. Win!

If you haven’t jumped on the energy efficient light bulbs yet, then you need to get on the bandwagon. While they cost more up front, they will reduce your energy bill over time and they reduce heat given off.  I use CFLs in every fixture which I have.  They work great and keep the heat remittance low.

Kill the Phantom Energy

Did you know most appliances and electronics use energy when they are turned off?  It is called “phantom” energy. This allows them to power on quickly when in need. The problem is this costs money when you are not using them.  Boo!  Most of my electronics are hooked into surge protectors. I just have to flip one switch and the power is cut off.

There is a caveat to this practice. If you have a cable box, then you shouldn’t turn that off. It takes too much energy to start that box back up every time, so you don’t save anything. Just let it keep running.  They are costly to just have though.

If you want to know how much power your electronics consume when plugged in, I recommend getting a Kill A Watt electricity usage monitor.  I bought one a long time ago and it was eye opening to see how much power my turned off electronics consumed.

 

Do you have any simple suggestions to reduce energy usage?

Infographic via Visual.ly

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12 Comments

  1. Great advice because for many as the most expensive utility bills occur in the summer months. I think the nest thermostat looks awesome, do you believe it can actually save 25% off utility bills as the company states? I just cleaned out my AC filters.

    1. I am skeptical it will save that much unless the conditions are just right. That is how all savings predictions work. Everything has to be perfect for the system to save you that much. I do think it will save you money though. How much is debatable.

  2. The heat of summer is setting in where I live, so this post came just in time! A few tips:

    – Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to push cool air downward.
    – Don’t leave your HVAC system and/or fans running all the time. It’s a myth (and an expensive one at that!) that keeping a cool house cool is cheaper that cooling off a warm house.
    – Be prepared and get an energy audit before the summer months, in early Spring, and have your windows and doors tested for leaks. Also, have your HVAC system checked. Most people wait until summer to realize that they need repairs or replacements, by which time companies are flooded with calls and can jack up the prices. The cost of parts (coils, commodity metals, etc) jumps in the summer because of the demand, and companies can reap the profits!

    1. Great tips Brenda! You are correct. I reverse my fan direction in the summer and winter. You just have to remember to switch them each season.

  3. Another tip – insulate. I added several inches of blown in insulation to my attic shortly after I bought my house and immediately noticed a difference when I came home from work the next day. It also helps with the heating bills during the winter as well.

    In addition to opening your windows at night, close them and the blinds during the day. I don’t have air conditioning but this and the insulation makes my house much cooler than the outside.

    If you live in a dry area swamp coolers can be very effective with less energy cost.

    I’m in the process of buying a house at 8,000 ft above sea level where the average high is 80 and the nights can drop to the 50s, even 40s in July. No AC needed up there.

  4. We just had to turn on the AC this week. If it stays below 95, we generally don’t need it because it gets so cool at night. The small things do add up. Our electric bill used to always be over $100, and now it’s often around $80 because of changing to CFL light bulbs and stopping the phantom energy and just watching the thermostat.

  5. We’ve made it a point to adjust our thermostat settings to lower our costs. We also upgraded windows (we had the original cheap aluminum ones that came with the house in the 80’s.

    We also take advantage of the cooler nights. Since we live outside the city, it tends to drop into the low 60s at night. Unless it is humid out, our windows are open and the room gets nice and cool.

  6. These are some great tips. We love to have the breeze go through our apartment, as long as it isn’t 90 degrees.

  7. Nice infographic, Grayson. Those tips are really helpful especially the use of energy-saving environment-friendly appliances.

  8. We actually save a lot on energy because we barely use our stove & oven during summer (the oven’s electric) 😀 It’s so hot over here, salads and drinks are all we need.. Also, I’ve gathered plenty of no-bake cake recipes to avoid baking as well.

  9. We added surge protectors last year and it’s super easy to shut off the energy in rooms we don’t use often. Also bought one of those powerful fans and use it to cool us off in the room we’re in.