The entrance to warmer months means you switch your thermostat from heat to A/C. Yet, this change can cause your electric bill to skyrocket. The Department of Energy (DOE) reports that air conditioners use at least 6% of all electricity in the U.S. And with three-quarters of homes having A/C units, this costs homeowners a collective $29 billion every year.
Given the sweltering heat, it’s hard to avoid paying the price for running your air conditioning. But we’ve outlined 10 ways to reduce your monthly bills, combat the high costs, and stay cool for the summer.
In This Article
1. Make Room for Fans
Fans are an optimal way to circulate extra airflow throughout your home — and relieve your A/C. If not already installed, place ceiling fans in a few key rooms, such as the living room, bedrooms, and your office. Wherever you’re likely to spend the majority of your time, you’ll likely save more money.
You can also buy standalone fans to offer a breeze while working from your kitchen or home office. Better yet, explore attic fans. These reduce attic temperatures (heat rises!), remove moisture, and offload extra pressure on your HVAC.
2. Shut Curtains, Blinds, and Shades
The next easy solution to reduce your air conditioning bill? Block out the sun. Close the curtains, shut the blinds, and draw the shades. By doing so, you’ll eliminate heat coming through the windows — and your air conditioner will thank you.
Lacking drapes, shutters, or curtains? Find cheap solutions in roll-up shades made of bamboo or vinyl, which are stylish and easy to install. Already have drapes or curtains? Consider lining them with lighter-colored fabric to reflect the heat. Or, swap them with blackout curtains.
3. Program Your Thermostat or Install a “Smarter” One
Another way to reduce your air conditioning bills is to program your thermostat. While working during the day or sleeping at night, set your A/C to 78 degrees — and avoid dropping it any lower. Running your air conditioning at extremely low temperatures is unnecessary, especially when your family is away for the day. By adjusting the temperature from seven to ten degrees for eight hours, you can shave up to 10% off your electric bill each year.
Now, for those who are more tech-savvy, choose a WiFi-enabled thermostat. These will automatically adjust your home’s temperature for enhanced comfort and performance. But heads up: Search for ones with an ENERGY STAR rating, so you know they’re certified to help you save.
“Smart” thermostats deliver added perks like remote access from any device, a compact design, temperature sensors for individual rooms, and free energy reports. Not to mention, you can reduce your air conditioning bill by up to 15%.
4. Service Your A/C
To keep your HVAC in tip-top shape, it’s important to schedule seasonal tune-ups. Whether your system is working or not, an experienced technician can tell if any problems will arise from dirty coils, poor connections, or low refrigerant levels.
Still, there’s something you can do all on your own: Routine filter replacements. Every few months (depending on pets and the number of people in your household), switch out those filters. After all, dust can accumulate, blocking airflow and forcing your unit to work harder to push out air.
5. Heat Up the Grill
Here’s another simple strategy: Avoid the stovetop and oven. Take advantage of the great outdoors and dine al fresco! You can opt for meals that center around the grill (even crock pots or electric griddles), and prep salads, side dishes, or sandwiches that can be refrigerated. By incorporating this routine a few times a week, you’ll reduce your air conditioning bill — and rake in major savings.
6. Plant More Trees
Another way to curb the heat (and add curb appeal)? Plant a few trees. But, be mindful of where you place them. Grow them on the east and west sides of your home, so you’ll receive shade against the rising and setting sun. (Plus, during the winter, bare branches will allow rays through to warm your home!)
7. Explore Solar Screens
Exceptionally eco-friendly, solar screens are a green alternative to cooling your home. Install a few on your roof and on windows that get significant sunlight. Since they’re made of mesh, solar screens can effortlessly block heat and light.
You may worry whether solar screens will fit your windows. But many manufacturers offer custom designs to fit specific window styles and sizes.
8. Replace and Seal Windows, Doors, and Ducts
Own an older home? Then it’s likely your windows need to be replaced. Older windows can have cracks and poor insulation. Thus, allowing more heat in and lowering your home’s energy efficiency. While also an investment, new windows eventually pay for themselves by using less air conditioning to reduce the electricity bills. And with a home renovation loan through Prosper, you get help paying for new windows.
Not only that, but poorly sealed doors and air ducts also lead to higher energy bills. Take time to properly insulate your home by caulking and weatherstripping around all the nooks and crannies. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a typical duct system can lose up to 30% of air due to leaks, holes, and poorly sealed connections.
So, while it seems a tedious task (and an extra investment), addressing these issues will go a long way to reduce those monthly bills.
9. Head to the Basement (If You Have One)
As we all know, heat rises. That means spending more time on the lower levels of your home can make a big difference. Start by moving family movie nights to the basement. Even better, set up your home office downstairs so you’re not as likely to touch the thermostat during the day. If you do, you’ll spend the summer feeling more comfortable — with more money in your wallet.
10. Get Help from Electric Companies
Don’t forget to contact your utility company for help in reducing your air conditioning bills. Their website may outline unique tips on budgeting and even offer deals on “smart” thermostat installations. Plus, if eligible, your provider can lower costs or let you pay the same monthly amount, preventing large spikes in your A/C bills.
Save Money and Stay Cool This Summer
There are plenty of ways to seek refuge from summer’s sweltering temperatures. It’s only a matter of becoming more creative in your daily routine, investing in new products, and capitalizing on the right services. Before summer hits, do your research and commit to a few of the above. In the end, you may be pleasantly surprised to find you’ve used less air conditioning to reduce electricity bills.
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