Frugal Living 

Saving Money on Cooling Costs

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Air conditionerSummer is well under way, and you are probably starting to sweat a bit. The difficulty, of course, is that you want to be comfortable during the hot summer months, but you also don’t want to pay a lot for cooling. Running the air conditioner can be a surefire way to boost your utility bill to new, unpleasant levels.

The good news is that you can stay cool in the summer, while saving some money on cooling costs. The key is planning actions that will reduce your need for the air conditioner, so that it only comes on when you really need it.

Keep Your House Cool

One of the ways you can reduce the need for your air conditioner, and reduce your cooling costs, is to keep your house cool. If it gets cooler at night, open windows to let the cooler breeze in. Then, in the morning, shut the windows before the air starts warming. This will help you keep the cooler air in a little bit longer.

You can also keep your home cooler by paying attention to which windows should be covered at what time of the day. During the morning, windows facing east should be covered to keep the sun from beating in to the house. If you like natural lighting, uncover the windows on the other side of the house. Then, as the sun continues its journey across the sky, you can switch. Close the blinds and curtains on the west and south sides of the house as afternoon progresses. If you can, moving more of your daily activities to a lower level in the house can also help, since it is likely to be cooler downstairs.

Proper use of energy efficient fans can also help to circulate the air. My husband doesn’t like having the windows open at night, since there is a lot of noise in our neighborhood. A low-energy ceiling fan can circulate the air, and eliminate the desire for the air conditioner at night.

Finally, avoid activities that heat up the house. Using the oven and stove can quickly heat up the home, making it uncomfortable and resulting in the air conditioner turning on. Instead, consider using an outdoor grill for most of your cooking. Crockpot cooking and microwave cooking can also be great options during the summer. You can also consider raw foods during the summer. They are cooler, and they can even be healthy and delicious.

Help Your Air Conditioner

When your air conditioner is running, you want to make sure that it is running as efficiently as possible. The harder your air conditioner works, the higher your cooling costs. Make sure that your air conditioner is properly maintained and serviced regularly. Change the filter on your air conditioner, and make sure the ducts in your central air system (if you have one) are kept clear.

You can also help your air conditioner by its placement as a unit. Make sure there is clearance around your air conditioner so that it can dispose of the heated air from your house without too much trouble. While you might want to conceal the unit with vegetation, make sure that you don’t crown the unit. Placing your unit an area that is shaded most of the time can also help its efficiency.

Do you have any more tips for saving money on cooling costs?

(Photo: THE Holy Hand Grendade!)

{ 5 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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5 Responses to “Saving Money on Cooling Costs”

  1. Ceiling fans and programmable thermostats are helpful. Great breeze from the fans, if you don’t have a ceiling fan, a regular fan is great! Set the thermostat so the temp is warmer when you’re not home!!! also, go for a swim, when you come in, you won’t mind the warm temp!

  2. STRONGside says:

    Like @Barb above, we always use our programmable thermostate to set our temps much higher when we are not home. Also, we try to plan all of our travel in the summer (which is generally no big sacrifice) and therefore are able to skip out on a few weeks of having to cool our home. Turning off the AC while you are traveling can save you a bundle, and even help defray some of the costs of your traveling.

  3. I made a comment @ Free From Broke on this subject. Down here in South FL, people are putting tinting film on their home windows, and it works just like a car. It does work, and my parents are noticing benefits and it wasn’t that costly to do either, especially considering the long-term savings

  4. Shirley says:

    We don’t have any west facing windows but the west side of the house definitely heats up in the summer. To combat this, we planted Star Jasmine vines on a trellis along that wall.

    It took a full year for it to reach 8-9 feet high and cover side to side completely, but the difference in the heat in the back rooms was astounding. Added bonus… when it blooms the fragrance is lovely.

  5. skylog says:

    ceiling fans are quite good…if you have them. i agree with and do everything you mentioned that i can.

    great and timely post! now…perhaps you can right something about winter so it gets a little cooler!

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