Are you frustrated with the price of your electric bill? Do you feel like your options are to either roast or pay an exorbitant bill? I live in the desert, so I totally understand the frustration. There are some simple things you can do to beat the heat and save money on your A/C bill.
Adjust your thermostat
This is probably the most common advice you hear. I’m not going to tell you what to set it to, but try adjusting your temp up a degree or two and see how it feels. We keep ours at 77, but if we’re both feeling warm we’ll bump it down to 75.
We also keep our thermostat at the same temp all day long. I used to turn it up to 80 when I was at work, but it would take my poor old A/C unit hours running constantly to get the temp back down. I was afraid I was going to burn out my system. Now, we keep it at a reasonable temp and it runs every couple of hours.
Open up your house
Does it cool off either at night or in the early morning where you live? If it’s at least the same temperature, if not cooler than what I have my thermostat set to, I open up the house. Let nature do the work of cooling your house for you! It’s free!
I try to open all my doors and windows for at least an hour, then I turn on just the fan on my thermostat to help push the cooler air throughout the house. If you have a whole house fan, use that! I’m not so fortunate.
Keep the blinds closed to keep the sun from shining in
Does the sun shine directly into your house at certain times of the day? As much as I love the sunlight, that creates heat! The sun shines into my living room as it’s rising in the morning, so I’ll wait to open my blinds until it’s passed.
If that makes your room too dark, try adjusting your blinds to allow in light, but without the sun beams directly entering. We have slat blinds, so we can point them up to allow in light, without the sun beams.
Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed
If your windows and doors aren’t sealed properly the money you’re paying to cool your house is literally going out the window! You want to hoard that stuff! If you can see cracks of light through the openings, it’s not sealed. You want as air-tight of a seal as you can get.
You can hire someone to seal them for you, or you can DIY it. We have a window that doesn’t shut properly, so we’ve classisly sealed it up with some tape. It’s not the prettiest fix, but it’s in a back room and it works.
If the bottom of your doors are the problem you can buy or make door jamb draft blockers that exactly what they say- block drafts so your cold air stays in and your warm air stays out.
Have your A/C unit tuned up
As soon as summer starts coming around, you start hearing all the ads for A/C tune ups. I know it sounds like a scam to just make you pay for an unnecessary service, but it’s actually needed. Just like your car needs a regular tune-up, so does your A/C unit.
Just having your coolant levels checked is hugely beneficial. If your unit is under filled or over filled, it won’t run as efficiently. So put feelers out for a trustworth A/C technician and have them check out your system at the beginning of the season.
Make a DIY room A/C unit or put frozen water in front of a fan
Have you seen those cute 5 gallon bucket A/C units that people make? They’re made to just cool one room. I haven’t used them before, but I’ve been debating making one for one of our problem rooms.
Our back living room has a chimney, a big window and a sliding glass door with a pet door installed. It’s got a lot of places for heat to come in for such a small room. Plus it’s where our computers are and we spend a lot of time, so add in heat from the computers and body heat. It’s usually a couple degrees warmer than the rest of the house.
A bucket A/C unit seems like it could be a good fix for that room. Have you tried one before?
The lazy man’s version is to just put a frozen bottle in front of a fan, so that your fan blows cold air.
Install ceiling fans
If you don’t already have ceiling fans installed in all your rooms, fix that! Just having air movement makes a room feel cooler. If you do have them installed, use them! You want your fans to run counter clockwise in the summer to push the air straight down.
Auto adjust your bill
This tip doesn’t necessarily make your bill lower, but it evens out the load throughout the year. I’m a budgeter and planner, so it drives me nuts planning for bills that have varying amounts. Most companies will give you the option to average out your last year of bills and pay the average amount each month. This makes an OCD Jo very happy. Plus it means you avoid having a $50 bill one month and a $300 on the next.
I hope that gives you some ideas of easy changes you can make to help keep your house cool this summer. You don’t have to choose between a cool home and your A/C bill each summer, there are easy ways to keep your home comfy and save money.