The Summer months bring lots of extra sunshine. It can be tricky trying to keep your home cool without running up the electric bill. These tips to keep your home cool in the Summer can help you not only save energy, but also reduce costs.
The Summer is so nice, you get to be outdoors more and soak up lots of sun.
If you live in a warmer place like Arizona, Summer also means cranking up the AC because it just gets sooo hot!
Learning How To Cut Costs
I was lucky enough to have a Nina (also known as godmother) who worked for many years at an electric company. She would share all of the tips and tricks with us to help cut costs on our electric bill and still be able to keep our home cool.
She taught us about energy efficiency and that there are certain things you should look for when living in a home or apartment. Thanks Nina!
Each time we’ve moved somewhere, I always ask, is the air conditioning unit energy efficient? Are the windows double-pane? She taught me well hehe.
These things may not seem like a big deal at first but they can make a whole heck of a difference in the long run.
The tips that my Nina shared have come in handy so many times, and I’ve learned a few other things along the way too.
Saving energy in our homes is not only good for the planet, but also for our wallets. It’s a win-win!
Even if you own your home and don’t have the option to switch to double-pane windows or update your air condition unit, there are still some things that you can do to keep your home cool and hopefully save a little bit along the way.
In case you aren’t familiar with the term energy efficient what this means is using less energy. When homes are insulated properly this helps to generate less energy because it takes less energy to cool your home in the Summer months.
Double-pane windows for example, are a form of insulation. The 2 panes of glass help to decrease the amount of heat that is transferred into your home.
Anything that generates energy, generates heat. When you plug something in, that uses energy, and although you may not feel it, it’s also generating heat.
If you’d like to read a little more about this you can go here and here. The information is really helpful.
So with all this in mind, let’s get into the tips!
1. Keep Blinds Closed Throughout The Day
It’s so nice to open up the blinds and let the sunshine in. But throughout the day as it gets hotter, the sun will also be heating up your home.
The best thing to do is to keep your blinds closed, especially mid-day.
What I do is keep a few blinds slightly open for a couple of my plants. Sometimes in the morning I’ll open up my blinds to do my morning yoga. It’s nice because it’s a bit cooler in the mornings.
Then, once mid-morning hits I’ll close them up. We have four windows and a door in our living room so it gets a lot of light and can get very hot. Even with the blinds closed, I still have enough light to get my work done throughout the day.
Keeping the blinds closed can help to keep you home cool and will help the AC unit not to have to work so hard.
2. Set Your Thermostat A Couple Degrees Higher During The Day
I know, I know don’t let the number 79 freak you out. We have a one bedroom apartment so it doesn’t take much to cool it down to begin with. During the day I leave the thermostat to 79 degrees.
It comes down a couple of degrees when Eric gets home from work in the evening, then at night is when we turn it really low to about 75 degrees.
This is just an example of how I do it. Of course every home is different in the degrees it takes to cool down. How big your home is also makes a difference. But the main goal is to keep your thermostat at a set temperature.
You never want to turn your whole AC unit off, then turn it back on once you get home. This is very counterproductive. Your unit has to expel an excessive amount of energy once it’s turned back on just to get the whole house cool. So the energy you thought you saved during the day is lost and then some.
Energy efficient AC units are great because they allow you to set the thermostat to a certain temperature. Once that temperature is reached, the unit will turn itself off until it needs to turn on again.
It does a great job of maintaining a set temperature. This is better than turning it on and off because the unit only has to give off little spurts of energy throughout the day, as opposed to taking on the task of cooling a home that’s been heating up all day.
Setting your thermostat to a higher temperature during the day is also great if no one is home. You can save more energy rather than cooling a home that no one’s in.
If you do stay home during the day, like me I work from home, that’s where your fans come in handy.
3. Turn Ceiling Fans On
You can keep a few of your fans running throughout the day to help circulate the cool air.
I would recommend doing this in areas of your home that everyone spends the most time in, like the living room. If you have a 4 bedroom home, you don’t want to keep a fan on in every room because it’s still using up energy.
Eric also recently taught me that many fans have a switch at the top where you can change the direction of its spin.
You can experiment with this to see which direction helps to circulate the air the best.
I also found that by keeping the fan on in our living room throughout day, it helps to keep our plants happy.
We only have 2, but the cool air keeps them from wilting. I don’t have much of a green thumb so I need all the help I can get.
4. Use Natural Light When Possible
One exception to Tip #1 of keeping your blinds closed, is if you need light.
Sometimes clouds will roll in mid-day and I need a little extra light to see, so I’ll open a few blinds. Even though it’s letting some heat in, it won’t be as much heat as a light bulb gives off.
Plus, natural light saves energy because you don’t have to turn anything on.
Our bedroom is naturally a little dark so when I go in there, I’ll open the blinds, do what I have to do, then close them once I leave. It really helps to keep the room cool, but I can still get some light in there when I need to.
We’re so used to turning a switch on and off, but if there’s still daylight, why not use the natural energy from the sun?
We can save a little money and use what nature gives us.
5. Regularly Change Air Filters & Clean Air Vents
So the last tip is one that we can forget about. How often do we look up at our vents?
But this is something that’s so important because it helps to keep your AC unit running optimally, and that is to regularly change your air filters.
With our units constantly running, they are constantly picking up dust and other particles. The air filters are a great way to help keep the air in our home clean. But they get lots of build up.
An air filter is a lot like the bag or canister in your vacuum. Every now and then it needs to be changed out because dust piles up in there. It may not be as often as the vacuum, but it still needs to get done.
Usually when you buy an air filter it will have a recommendation of how often to change it out. The recommended amount of time is about every 3 months but this can vary.
It doesn’t need to be changed that often in our home because it’s a lot smaller. So this is something you can estimate for your own home based on size and how much your AC unit has to work. If your unit is older, it’s best to switch out the air filter more often.
I know it seems like a lot, but it’s cheaper to maintain your unit than to let things go and it breaks. The cost will be a lot higher to replace it.
Another thing is to clean your air vents because these get dusty too. The cleaner they are, the cleaner the air is, and the less work your AC unit has to do.
When there’s dust blocking the vents, the ac has a harder time regulating the temperature because half of the air isn’t even reaching the rest of the house.
This will end up using more energy too. So try to keep your air vents clean. Every so often I’ll do a good sweep of our base boards and air vents to help keep things clean and in good working condition.
Extra Mini Tip
One last thing that I wanted to mention that could help cut costs and save energy in your home, are “Time-Of-Use” programs.
Some electric companies offer these energy saving programs to help save on your electric bill. The way they work is, when you sign up for the program, there is a set of time that you are recommended to refrain from using any appliances or electricity.
For example, if you don’t use much energy between the hours of 3-8pm during the week, then you can save money on your electric bill. You can learn some more here.
So, if you’re looking to save more money on your electric bill and think this might work for you, I would recommend calling your electric company and asking if they have any Time-Of-Use (TOU) programs.
Saving Energy & Reducing Costs
The Summer months can be a bit of headache when it comes to our electric bills, but hopefully these tips can help you reduce costs and save some energy in your home.
Living in Arizona I’m all for a nice and cool home, but not for a $200 electric bill.
So let me know in the comments below if you found these tips helpful, or if you have any other energy saving tips of your own.
To cooler homes and cheaper electric bills!
P.S. When Mea saw that I was taking pictures in the living room she just had to make her cameo. Isn’t she the cutest haha.