Saving money in the summer months is never easy. For those of us with kids in school, summertime means more time spent at home and more energy used throughout the day. You may be scheduling vacations and stocking up on summertime clothing. But one of the biggest costs of all is also one of the most annoying—the cost of air conditioning.
You need your air conditioning system in order to stay cool, but it’s possible to be comfortable without shutting off the system altogether. We have some tips to help you stay cooler without spending a ton of money on AC.
#1: Learning to Use the Programmable Thermostat Properly
Most homes these days have a programmable thermostat to operate the central heating and air (and if you don’t, it’s time for a thermostat upgrade!). However, many people have no idea how to really take advantage of its settings.
If you’re still unsure about how to use your thermostat, consult your manual (which you may be able to find online) or call in an expert technician. It’s worth a few minutes of your time!
Once you know how to work your thermostat, the rest comes easily. Just follow our tips to be sure you’re using your thermostat as efficiently as possible.
- Keep the thermostat at about 78° when you are home, or as warm as you and your family members can agree on. You may be surprised at how comfortable you are!
- Raise the temperature by about 10° when you are not home.
- Don’t fluctuate the temperature too much throughout the day.
- USE the programmable thermostat! Don’t try to reset it manually each day, as this leads to forgetfulness.
- If your schedule frequently changes, consider a smart thermostat over a regular programmable thermostat. It’s easy to use!
#2: Sealing Leaks Around the Home
When your home is full of leaks—when air leaks out around windows and doors and heat comes into the home—you spend more on air conditioning than you should. Sealing these leaks does come at a cost, of course, but this is small compared to what you save over the next few years. Buying caulk to fill in gaps around pipes and windows and weather stripping to seal the space between doors and entryways can save you a lot of money with time.
#3: Find Other Ways to Stay Cool
We’ve got some ideas for you!
- Fill a bucket about halfway with ice and poke some holes one side of the bucket above the ice. Point a fan face down into the bucket, and turn on the fan. Voila! Cheap air conditioning! (Temporarily, of course.)
- Take a dive in a public pool.
- Drink plenty of water and wear light clothing.
- Open the windows if the weather is cool enough.
- Keep the blinds and shades closed during the day.
- Use a ceiling fan along with your air conditioner to push cool air into the living space.
- Use someone else’s air conditioning! Go to the mall or run your errands in the daytime, or hang out at the local library.