While basking in chilly air conditioning is a fun part of the American lifestyle, getting stuck with the costly power bill for it isn’t. Luckily, we found some other ways to beat the heat this summer that won’t bust your budget.
It’s (hopefully) no surprise that your air conditioner is the biggest reason your electricity bill skyrockets during summer. However, there might be other culprits around your house worth investigating. There are also plenty of simple things you can do or invest in that’ll help you (and your wallet) chill out in the meantime.
Smart thermostats give you advanced control and a little more peace of mind over air conditioner use in your home. They allow you to set a schedule for it to run on each day and trigger it to turn on only when it exceeds a particular temperature—like a conservative 77 degrees, for example. You can also tell your thermostat to turn off the A/C when you’re not home, which is an outstanding way to save money and not waste electricity. We like the Nest Learning Thermostat for its ease of use and ability to automatically learn and adjust to your preferences, and the Honeywell Home RTH2300B1038 for its simple on-device programming that doesn’t require a mobile app to use.
Honeywell Home RTH2300B1038
Skip the apps and program your preferred temperature right on this thermostat.
Unless your house is brand new, it’s probably leaking air somehow be it through gaps around windows, the weatherstripping around your front door, or cracks and gaps around pipes and outlets. This means any cool air you manage to acquire is likely finding its way back out through these holes and wasting your money.
Swing by your local hardware store to pick up new weatherstripping or a container of caulk for sealing up doors and windows. For ducts, check connection points and folds for tears or holes, and seal any leaks with foil tape then a layer of duct tape. For insulation, ensure your attic is properly insulated, along with any non-brick walls.
Ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently by changing your air filter seasonally. By choosing properly sized filters and replacing them on a regular basis, you’re helping your HVAC system keep you (and your wallet) comfortable year-round. Filters are available at any home improvement store and come in packs of two or three for under $20, which isn’t terribly pricey.
It’s worth noting, however, that if your HVAC system is really old (like 20 or 30 years old), you should consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient system, as new units cool your home faster and the lower power draw can help you save on your monthly bill.
Anything you put over your windows can help keep unwanted heat from seeping into your home. Installing smart shades doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and they have a nice modern feel. Insulated window treatments are an even better option, albeit a pricier one, as they are designed to act as a barrier between your windows and the inside of your home and regulate the temperature that way.
There are things you can do to your home’s exterior (and to your yard) that will make it easier to regulate summertime temperatures inside your home. Painting your home’s exterior a lighter color can help reduce the amount of heat it retains and installing shades or awnings on the windows that get the most sun can help keep temperatures lower as well.
You can also plant trees and bushes near your house to block light from windows or your roof, though waiting for them to grow is obviously a more long-term plan. Just make sure you keep plenty of area around your A/C unit clear of grass and leaves for optimal circulation.
Heat is one thing, but when it’s humid as well, the air just feels stuffy, muggy, and insufferable. A dehumidifier can help remove extra moisture from the air, helping you feel drier and more comfortable during hot summer months, and who doesn’t want that? Portable dehumidifiers can be moved around your house as needed, like in your bedroom at night or your kitchen or living room during the day. We like the Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier and the hOmeLabs 3,000 Sq. Ft. Energy Star Humidifier.
Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier
Help manage temperature by letting this dehumidifier pull excessive moisture from the air.
Sitting in front of a fan on a hot day is practically a summer rite of passage. There are oscillating tower fans, lightweight small fans that can sit on your desk or nightstand, and even some impressive industrial options for the most sweltering of days. Of course, you can also opt for a portable air conditioner if you’re renting a home or apartment without air conditioning, or really only care about keeping a single room cool.
B-Air FIRTANA-20X Floor Fan
Beat the heat! Let this stylish fan keep you and your home cool this summer.
While it’s tempting to try and beat the heat by staying in and binge-watching the latest Netflix show, your gigantic flatscreen, powerful gaming computer, and other electronics are actually unsuspecting sources of heat. Consider limiting how much you use them each day, and minimize the use of lights and even appliances like your laundry, dryer, and oven to really make a difference.
During the hottest months, the heat can sometimes linger through the night leaving you sweaty and uncomfortable while you’re trying to sleep. However, there are miraculous bed sheets specifically designed to help you stay cooler at night. We’re big fans of these cooling sheets from PeachSkinSheets because they help regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture while remaining breathable and comfy all night long.
PeachSkinSheets 1500TC Cover Set
Stay cool while you sleep with these gorgeous breathable, moisture-wicking sheets.
Staying cool during summer is the name of the game, and sometimes the battle is most easily won with the simplest of weapons. Load up on cold beverages, popsicles, fruit, and other cool foods throughout the day, and hang out in the lower levels of your house (like the living room in your basement) during the hottest parts of the day.