Maybe you’ve been dreading the summer for months—the high electricity bills due to constant air-conditioning, the expensive road trips in gas-guzzling cars to visit relatives or swim at the beach, the need to buy a new wardrobe that doesn’t suffocate you when the temperature rises above 75 degrees. Fear not: this will be your least expensive summer ever, thanks to the following money-saving tips.
Keeping air conditioning under control
A/C can be a money guzzler, possibly raising your electricity bill in the summer months by a greater amount than heat raises the gas bill in the winter. However, a few energy-saving tips can help reduce the need for cranking the A/C and, in turn, save you lots of money on the electricity bill. To reduce the need for air conditioning, try these suggestions:
- Keep windows closed and covered. Letting in hot summer air, particularly during the day, is likely to be counterproductive when it comes to cooling your house. Opening windows may help at night when temperatures drop, but when the sun is shining keep all openings to the outside closed and covered to keep heat out and cold in. Close curtains, blinds, and shutters if you have them, or hang curtains if you aren’t already equipped. Window treatments offer an easy way to make your home both more stylish and more energy efficient.
- Use fans to cool off small spaces and aid air flow. Though fans clearly use electricity, they’re nowhere near the energy guzzlers that air conditioners are. Fans can also be targeted better than air conditioners—if you’re just sitting at your desk working, or hanging out in front of the TV, why not point a fan at yourself instead of spending money to cool the whole house? Keep your thermostat set at 75 degrees or higher, and cool off specific spaces with a fan. Fans are particularly good right by the bedside, as they allow you to feel extra cool while sleeping without making it necessary to chill the entire house to your desired sleeping temperature. Tower fans are a sleek and stylish option for your home, or break out the traditional box or oscillating fans when summer rears its sweaty head.
- Choose to live in an area well-shaded with trees or shrubs, or request that your landlord plant some greenery around your complex. Shade is much cooler than direct sunlight. Moreover, air conditioning units placed in shady areas operate better and more efficiently than those stationed in sunlight.
- This may seem obvious, but dress down when indoors. Wearing shorts and a tank top will cause you to feel the heat indoors much less than wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Dress for the weather even when in a climate-controlled environment. Cooling your home to “sweater temperature” will cost much more than just adjusting your wardrobe to the season.
- Turn up the temperature on your air conditioning unit when you’re not home. There’s no need to raise it to 90, but it’s wasteful to keep your place at a blissful 70 degrees when you’re not around. Bump up the thermostat as high as you can when leaving for work or for other prolonged periods, then turn it back down and flip on a fan when you return home.
Other excellent energy savers
- There are a wide variety of window glass treatments available that reduce heat transfer through windows and cut down on the need to heat and cool your home. You might ask your landlord to consider using one of these treatments, or buy solar control films to keep your apartment cool in the summertime.
- Caulking and weather-stripping are also good at keeping heat out and cold in. Ask your landlord about updating these aspects of your apartment in the interest of saving money. Insulating your apartment can also serve a similar function.
- Air-drying dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s heat dry can save energy and keep your kitchen from becoming a sauna during that heat cycle.
- Likewise, line-drying your clothes can save a great deal of energy, and is especially easy to do during sunny summer months.
- If you need to use heat-producing appliances like the dryer, dish dryer, stove, or oven, try to do so at night when it won’t be necessary to crank the A/C to avoid sweating into your laundry, birthday cake, or fancy foods. Temperatures can drop drastically when the sun goes down, so take advantage of this shift to engage in your hottest chores.
These and many other energy saving steps will help you stay cool and save money this summer. Work together with your landlord to make your apartment a lean, mean, and cold energy-saving machine.