If you own a house (or even rent) you know firsthand how expensive it can be to keep cool during the summer.
For some people, it’s not unusually to spend $100 or more every month just to run the air conditioning. That’s on top of the other costs associated with your electric bill like the lights and household appliances.
However, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
As your trusty companion, I’m going to show you some simple things you can do to lower your energy use without sacrificing comfort.
By following the tips below, you won’t get burned this summer on your electric bill.
Change to CFL lightbulbs
If you’ve been asking yourself, “How can I lower my electric bill in the summer?” this first trick may surprise you.
Swap out any existing incandescent lights with CFL bulbs.
This may sound too simple to be true, but here’s the thing, 90% of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs is converted to heat. Only 10% is used for light.
This means that every time you turn one of these bulbs one, you’re slowly warming up the house. That extra heat means your cooling expenses will be higher.
CFL bulbs use very little energy and give off only a small amount of heat. So use them!
Install a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat
If you want to know the best way for how to save money on air conditioning bill it’s by installing a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat in your home.
This simple upgrade will pay for itself in about a year and only takes about one hour to install.
You’ll be amazed at how much money a device like this can reduce your summer electric bill. By setting a schedule for when you want the air conditioner to turn on and off throughout the day, you can literally fine-tune exactly how much money you want to spend on your cooling costs.
A good practice is to program your thermostat temperature to 80ºF when you’re not at home and have it lower to 74ºF around 30 minutes before you arrive home. This way your AC unit won’t kick in while you’re at work or off running errands and waste money. It will also cool your house down just enough for you before you walk back in the door.
If you have a smartphone or other mobile device, a Wi-Fi thermostat gives even more control over your air conditioner. You can set up all sorts of schedules, track temperature changes throughout the day, get weather alerts and more right in the palm of your hand. You can also adjust your thermostat even when you’re not home, as long as you have Internet access.
To find out more about this cool product and how to get the least expensive (but best) one for your home, take a look at my review of the cheapest smart thermostat here. It will save you so much money in the long run!
Replace your air filters
A lot of us forget to check or replace our air conditioner filters on a regular basis. Some people I’ve talked to don’t even know they exist!
Dirty AC filters are the number one cause of air conditioner failures and high energy costs. Their job is to trap dust and particles from making their way into the system and damaging it. Therefore, they get clogged easily and must be replaced every few months.
If you don’t replace your air filters, then the AC unit has to work hard to produce cool air which increases your electric bill.
So, another easy way for how to reduce electric bill for AC is to make it habit to change the air filters every 1-2 months during the summer.
Block out the sun
During the summer it feels great to have the shades up to allow light to pour in, but did you know that about 30% of indoor heat comes through your windows?
If you really want to lower your air conditioning bill this summer it pays to keep the sun out.
The best kind to use is called “blackout curtains” because they block the most amount of the sun’s rays. Insulated curtains like these can easily lower the temperature in your home 10 to 20 degrees and at times you may not have to run your air conditioner at all!
Use circulating fans
Running ceiling fans or stand-alone circulating fans can make your home feel around 5 degrees cooler. This means you can raise your thermostat setting up about the same amount without feeling any discomfort.
And the higher your thermostat setting, the more money you’ll save on cooling down your home.
Run exhaust fans
When your home feels hot it’s because the temperature of the air inside is on the rise.
An unconventional trick you can use to lower the heat is turning on your exhaust fans.
Exhaust fans are predominantly used to remove moisture in the bathroom and smoke from the kitchen by pushing it outside, but these handy vents are also great for sucking out the hot air too.
If you let these fans run for a while on the hottest days of the summer, they can help lower the temperature indoors.
When people think about installing weatherstripping on the windows and doors of their home, they do it mainly to keep heat in during the winter.
That’s because having any air leaks around your house causes warm air to flow out and cold air to come in.
However, weatherstripping is also a cheap way to reduce your air conditioner bill too. The tighter your home is sealed, the more cold air from your AC will stay indoors, instead of leaking outside.
So, if you haven’t installed weatherstripping around your doors and windows yet, now is the time to do it. It not only will keep the cold air in during the summer but will help keep your home toasty warm in the winter too!
Check your air conditioning unit’s efficiency
If you follow the tips on this page are still experiencing a high cooling bill, there may be a problem with your AC system.
To find out if this is what’s going on, you should check its efficiency. If there’s an issue then it would be wise to call a professional.
To perform this check, you’ll need to wait for a day that’s above 80ºF outside. Once this happens, turn on your air conditioner and let it run for at least 20 minutes.
With a clean air filter in place, tape a thermometer to the grill of an air supply vent that’s closest to the unit and note the temperature at 5 minutes. Then, do the same thing at the air return vent.
The air coming out of the air supply vent should be 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the air going into the air return vent. If the temperature difference is beyond that range then something is wrong with your AC unit and it will need to be serviced.
Use a dehumidifier
If you live in a humid area, then you know firsthand how hot it feels outside when there is more moisture in the air.
The same thing happens indoors as well. If your home is full of water vapor, it will feel much hotter than normal and you may feel inclined to turn on the air conditioning.
A good trick to try that’s less expensive than running the AC is to use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier sucks moisture out of the air and essentially cools it down for you.
Dehumidifiers are a really cheap investment for anyone looking to lower their air conditioning bill. I have a free guide to help you find the best mini dehumidifier here. It shows you what the 5 best (and cheapest) products you can buy for your home.
Now that you have a few money-saving tricks under your belt, you should see a decrease in your air conditioning bill if you put them into place. Even doing just one of the things listed on this page can help lower your monthly electric costs during the summer.
And that means more money in your pocket!