Save on Your Summer Energy Bills: Tips From A to Z
As the temperature outside starts to rise, so does the cost of keeping your home cool. Typically, electricity rates are higher during the summer due to increased demand, leading to higher summer electric bills. If you want to secure a lower electric bill (without feeling like you’re living in a sauna), check out these 26 energy-saving tips for summer. We’ve got ideas from A to Z!
Always pay your electric bill (and any other utility bill) on time to avoid late fees and a potential service interruption. It’s easier to stay on top of your bills by paying them electronically. American Heritage members can pay bills fast using our Online Bill Payer service.
Buy blackout curtains for your windows, especially those facing the south and west. The curtains help keep heat out, so you can give your air conditioner a break and reduce energy bills. During the winter, these shades can also keep the cold outside and the heat inside.
Cook or grill outdoors when you can, so you won’t raise the temperature of your kitchen by firing up your oven or stovetop.
Dehumidifiers help you feel cooler by removing extra moisture from the air in your house. While investing in a dehumidifier won’t lower the temperature, the extra comfort it provides helps you reduce your reliance on that energy-hungry air-conditioner.
Energy-efficient appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers require less electricity and typically produce less heat than older appliances. When shopping for appliances, look for those with Energy Star ratings.
Fans help circulate air in the room, requiring less effort from your AC to keep the inside temperature comfortable. With ceiling fans, make sure the fan blades are going counterclockwise during the summer to get the maximum benefit (and
switch them to clockwise during the winter).
Get outside for a swim, hike, or bike ride and take advantage of your body’s natural cooling system. Or, if it’s too hot for that – visit a friend or go to an (air-conditioned) store or supermarket instead.
Hydrate! Drinking enough water is key to preventing overheating. The old rule of thumb is that you should drink at least eight glasses of water per day, but some people may benefit from drinking more.
Install a programmable thermostat, so you can automatically adjust the temperature to be cooler when you’re home and warmer when you’re not.
Just say no when your kids want to crank up the AC. Unless someone in your family has a medical condition, is a baby, or is elderly, it’s generally fine to keep the indoor temperature a bit warmer. The Department of Energy recommends keeping your home around 78 degrees when you’re at home to reduce energy bills during the summer.
Know which of your body’s pulse points can help keep you cool. Applying an icepack or cold washcloth to your forehead, back of your neck, or wrists can help you cool down quickly — and cheaply.
Learn to enjoy shorter, colder showers. You’ll reduce both water and energy consumption, and the cooler water helps lower your body temperature.
Maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency with routine maintenance. Changing the air filter and cleaning the coils regularly will help extend its useful life.
Never leave your windows open while running your air conditioner.
Open the windows on your upper and lower floors at night to give your AC a break. You can take advantage of the “stack effect”: As warm air exits the upstairs windows, cooler air will flow in at ground level.
Place your AC unit in the correct spot. Because direct sunlight will make the system work harder, try to install it on a shady part of your home — ideally facing the north or east — to get the most bang for your buck.
Quickly cool down a hot room by placing ice packs or a frozen water bottle in front of your fan.
Raise the temperature on your thermostat when you’re not home to start saving on energy bills. Every degree above 78 can result in up to 8% savings on your power bill.
Showering with the bathroom fan on will help remove heat and humidity. Make sure the steamy air is properly vented outside.
Turn off lights when you leave a room to conserve energy and save on your electric bill.
Unplug appliances you don’t regularly use. You could save $100 to $200 each year.
Vanquish the heat, if you’re the type who likes to tinker, by building one of these cool DIY air conditioners.
Weatherstripping can help keep hot air from entering through small cracks around doors and windows. You can also use caulk to seal up any gaps.
For eXcellent summer meals, go for no-cook options like sandwiches and salads. Cold meals are refreshing and satisfying — and let you give your oven or microwave a rest.
You can always try the Egyptian method to stay cool when you sleep. Just soak a sheet in cold water and wring it dry, then place the damp sheet on top of you. You’ll stay cool (but not wet) as the water evaporates.
Zonk out on a cooling pillow for a great night’s sleep, even on warm nights.
Here for You in Every Season
If you're planning home improvements that increase your comfort — while helping you save money on your electric bill — we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re installing energy-efficient windows or a new AC, turn to American Heritage for flexible, affordable ways to pay for your next home upgrade, such as a low-interest credit card, personal loan, or home equity loan or line of credit.