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10 Tips to Stay Cool in the Summer and Lower Energy Bills

Updated on June 11, 2016
A cool electric fan
A cool electric fan | Source

Be Cool - Save Money, Save the Planet

Money is scarce all over the place. Summertime means we don't need to heat our homes and gas bills are smaller but it also means that most of us need to find some way to keep cool without breaking the bank.

Have no fear, there are quite a few common sense methods to reduce summer cooling costs and to trim your electric bill in general. Maybe you've heard some or all of these tips before. In that case, take this as a reminder to implement them this summer.

photo by Marcelo Moura,
photo by Marcelo Moura,

Keep the Summer Heat Out and Suck Cool Air In

Careful Use of Windows, Blinds, and Fans Can Keep You Cooler!

Close your curtains or blinds during the daytime to reduce the amount of solar heat your home absorbs. Blinds or curtains with a light or reflective color on the outward facing side are more efficient at this than darkly colored blinds.

At night, when the temperature outside is as cool as or cooler than your target home temperature, open your windows and use fans to blow the cool air through your home. Once it has cooled down, you can shut off the fans if desired. If it gets too cold, sleep under a blanket rather than closing the windows. The cooler your home is in the morning the cooler it will stay during the day!

photo by Alessandro Paiva, SXC
photo by Alessandro Paiva, SXC

Unplug It

Unplug any Electronics Not Currently in Use

Turn off computers, monitors, and lights when you are not using them. This not only saves energy but prevents them from heating up your living space. Unplug your television, monitor and printer when they are not in use. They constantly draw power even when turned off.

Energy Saving Allies - Electrical Timers - Forget to Shut Things Off? Timers Remember for You.

We might intend to shut things off when they aren't in use but we're only human and can tend to forget to do so. Timers can do it for us, on time, every time without falling prey to distractions.

You can hook an individual device or an entire power strip to a timer. Setting your electrical devices to automatically turn off at a certain time whether you are there to do it or not increases the regularity with which it is done - and the potential energy savings.

photo by Mihai Tamasila, SXC
photo by Mihai Tamasila, SXC

Eat and Drink Cool Things

Cold Foods and Beverages Can Help You Stay Cooler

Eat more salads, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables - they are not only good for you but require no heat to prepare. Cook meats and other foods outside on the grill. Enjoy some ice-cold lemonade or ice water.

If you drink hot coffee, brew one batch in the morning and store it all in a thermos or insulated carafe. This way you aren't running the microwave multiple times to reheat your coffee.

photo by David Jones, SXC
photo by David Jones, SXC

Keep It Clean and Keep It Cool

Clean Appliances Run at Peak Energy Efficiency

Line dry your laundry to prevent waste heat from your dryer from heating your home. Clothes dried outside smell better, too!

If you must use an electric or gas clothes dryer, do so early in the morning or late at night to avoid adding to an already high interior temperature.

Use cold water to wash your clothes and dishes. It not only saves energy but it's another way to prevent waste heat from warming up your home.

Reduce waste heat and energy consumption by doing your dishes by hand and allowing them to air dry. If you must use a dishwasher, set it to use cool water and to air dry the dishes.

Only run your dishwasher, washer or dryer when you have a full load.

If you have an air conditioner keep the filters clean and be sure to hose off the cooling fins once in a while to prevent dust build up.

photo by Chris Cummings,SXC
photo by Chris Cummings,SXC

Replace Your Light Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Conserve Energy

Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only do they use less electricity but they put out a fraction of the waste heat regular bulbs do. However, keep in mind that they use mercury and will be somewhat more complicated to dispose of than traditional bulbs.

Conserve Energy and Save Money By Stripping - Power Strips Save Energy and Money

Power strips quickly pay for themselves by reducing electricity consumption and costs. Some devices that are turned off use up to 70% of the power they consume while in use so it's necessary to disconnect them from the outlet to stop their energy consumption. Power strips provide an easy way to truly shut off a number of electronic devices all at once without having to physically unplug them.

Fill your bathtub with cold water. The water will absorb heat from the room. Once the water reaches room temperature, you can use it to take a cooling bath!

photo by Share Bear, Wikimedia Commons
photo by Share Bear, Wikimedia Commons

Seal It Up

Insulation and Weather-Stripping Keep Homes Cooler

Make sure your doors and windows seal tightly. Replace old weather stripping to prevent heat from getting in. Heat will leak into your home in the summer as surely as it leaks out in the winter.

Close doors and air-conditioning vents to rooms you are not currently using. You can even do this to bedrooms in the daytime and offices at night.

photo by LaraLove, Wikimedia Commons
photo by LaraLove, Wikimedia Commons

Make Your Refrigerator Use Less Electricity

Make Your Current Refrigerator More Energy Efficient

Make a list of what groceries are inside your refrigerator and put it on the front. Cross off items as you use them. This will reduce refrigerator gazing when looking for something to eat.

Keep the refrigerator sparsely filled to allow air to circulate and regulate temperature more efficiently. Keep the cooling coils free of dust and allow air space around the refrigerator to prevent the build up of waste heat.

Allow air space around the refrigerator itself to increase its efficiency. If it keeps sucking up its own waste heat or warms up its area too much it will burn more energy keeping things inside it cool.

Keep the freezer full. Once an item is frozen solid it doesn't need much to keep it that way. If you don't have enough food to fill your freezer, fill it with containers of water or ice packs. Not only will they help the freezer run more efficiently by increasing the mass of frozen material but they can be tossed into lunches and picnic coolers any time you want.

Programmable Thermostats Reduce Air Conditioning Bills - Don't Run Your Air Conditioning When No One Is Home!

Electronic programmable thermostats can be enormous energy savers. Program your thermostat to shut off the air conditioning during times you are usually gone and to turn back on half an hour to an hour before you are usually due to be home.

Programmable thermostats are a great investment as they will help save energy in winter as well as during the summer months.

Be sure to share your own cool tips so all of us can save energy and money this summer!

Do you have a great way to stay cool in summer without wasting a bunch of energy? Have you cut your energy bills? Please share your energy saving tips and cool ideas.


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