Air conditioning accounts for approximately 12 percent of all home energy expenditures. If you live in a very hot climate, though, it can account for as much as 27 percent!
Whether you live in a hot or mild location, you probably find yourself spending more than you'd like on air conditioning and electricity during the summer months.
Are you looking for a way to lower those costs without sacrificing your comfort?
Read on for some brilliant ideas on how to keep your house cool during the summer without racking up high energy bills.
Cover Your Windows
Your windows are one of the best places to start when it comes to cooling down your house.
If the blinds or curtains covering your windows are wide open with all day long, you're going to be letting in a lot of sunlight. This, in turn, can heat up your house and cause your air conditioner to kick on, running up your electric bill.
Make an effort to cover your windows during the hottest part of the day to cool your house down and minimize the amount of time the air conditioner spends running.
Seal the Cracks
If there are gaps in your windows or doors, you're probably letting a lot of cold air out and hot air in. This is a surefire way to increase your electric bills during the summer months.
Take a walk through your house and look closely at the windows and doors. Check the areas around your recessed lights and in crawl spaces, too.
If you notice any cracks, seal them up to prevent air from leaking out.
Check Your Insulation
Make sure you have sufficient insulation throughout your home as well. This will help to keep cool air in and warm air out.
If you don't have adequate insulation, your thermostat will have to work harder to keep your house cool (and keep it warm during the winter).
For those who live in older houses, it's especially important to check your insulation and update it if necessary.
Turn Off the Lights
Be sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Keeping your rooms dark and cool when they're not in use will help to cool down your whole house. It's also an easy way to minimize the amount of electricity you're using.
It might take some effort at first to make this a habit. You'll be glad you created this habit when you see your next electric bill, though.
Use Light-Colored Furniture Covers
If you can't stand the idea of keeping your windows closed all day, a good compromise is to open them part of the way and use light-colored furniture covers on your couches and chairs.
Dark colors will absorb more heat from the sun. This, in turn, can heat up your house and make your air conditioner work harder to cool things back down.
Use a Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a good alternative to the air conditioner. They help to keep your house cool but require much less electricity than the air conditioner to operate.
If you're going to install or start making more use of your ceiling fans, make sure you're utilizing them to their full potential. This means setting them so they turn counter-clockwise.
When your ceiling fans rotate this way, they pull cooler air up from the ground and blow it back onto you.
Use a Dehumidifier
Make sure your house isn't too humid, too.
Reducing the humidity in your house with a dehumidifier is an easy way to start feeling cooler even as temperatures start to rise. This will help to reduce sweating and keep you more comfortable, too.
In addition to using a dehumidifier, be sure to also use the exhaust fan in your bathrooms after a shower or bath to help cool things down in there (and the rest of your house).
Unplug Your Appliances
An easy way to reduce your electric bill and keep your house a bit cooler is to unplug your electronic devices when you're done using them.
If you leave your devices plugged in, they continue to suck up energy even when they're turned off.
Starting getting in the habit of unplugging everything or use power strips to reduce your energy usage.
Run Your Air Conditioner the Right Way
It's important to avoid putting too much strain on your air conditioner.
If you require it to run all day to keep your house cold, even when nobody's home, it's going to have to work harder and your electric bill will reflect that extra work.
Instead, set your air conditioner to a higher temperature during the day and then lower it in the evening when you return as needed.
You can also use a programmable thermostat so you don't have to worry about adjusting the temperature.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Finally, make sure you're taking good care of your air conditioner.
If your air conditioner is damaged, it's not going to run in the most efficient way possible. This, in turn, will make it harder for you to lower your energy bills and could result in the need for more expensive repairs later on.
Make sure you're having it serviced regularly, too. This will help you ensure it continues to work well, and it will help you catch potential issues early, before they turn into expensive problems.
You Know How to Keep Your House Cool: Now What?
It might seem impossible to figure out how to keep your house cool during the summer without spending a ton of money on air conditioning.
It can be done, though. If you keep these tips in mind, you'll have a much easier time staying cool and sticking to your budget.
Do you want to learn more about how to maintain your home so that you and your family stay healthy and happy all year round?
If so, be sure to visit the Home and Garden blogs on our site today for more advice.
Written by Cascia Talbert for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.