How you can cool your home this summer without breaking the bank

June 05, 2024 | Anne Purcell

How cool do most people want to feel in their homes this summer? You might be surprised that adults prefer to keep their homes cooled to an average of 65 to 76 degrees in the summer. While it is essential to keep your house cool and comfortable during the summer heat, consistently keeping your home cool can come with high costs.

The average household spends between $108 and $216 a month cooling their home in the summer. If you want to save money on cooling your house, the rule of thumb is that each degree that you raise the thermostat will save you 3% to 5% on your air conditioning costs. Here are some tips on how to save on your air conditioning bill without breaking a sweat.

Use a programmable thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can program the temperature to change on a specific schedule or control it remotely from your smartphone. When you leave, set the temperature to a higher temperature, say between 80 and 85 degrees. Then, if you can preschedule your thermostat and know you’ll be home at a particular time, set your thermostat so it will start cooling your home just before you arrive home. Or, if you can control the temperature from your smartphone, you can adjust the temperature on your way home from work or vacation so that it will be cooled down when you arrive.

You can save 5% to 15% on your air-conditioning bill by raising the temperature when you’re away. Despite a myth to the contrary, it’s cheaper to cool down a hot house than it is to keep the house consistently cool.

Be a fan of fans

Even if you have central air conditioning or air conditioner boxes in windows, fans really help tackle the heat. Put fans on your home’s top floor and open windows on the lower level. If you live in a one-story house, close the windows near your fan and open the windows in the room farthest away from the fan.

If you point box fans out the window, you’ll benefit from them pushing the hot air out. You can adjust ceiling fans to rotate in specific ways depending on the season. In summer, set the fan to rotate counter-clockwise at a higher speed and enjoy the breeze. A fun tip? Try placing a pan or bowl full of ice in front of the fan and revel in the cooling mist.

Shoo away the sun

Most of the heat in your house comes directly from the sun shining through your windows and roof. Look to your windows to fend off the sun. Window shades, such as mesh screens, let you see out while blocking sunrays (you can remove them in winter). Meanwhile, closing blinds, drapes and curtains on hot days can lower your temperatures by up to 20 degrees and save you 7% on your bill. Leafy trees, shrubs and vines in front of windows also help houses stay cool, as do awnings and reflective roof paint.Let in the night

If the temperature cools down at night, crack open the windows before you go to bed. Get your home even cooler by lining up your fans to create a cross breeze. Just be sure to close the windows again before the sun heats the house in the morning, and ensure you have turned off the air conditioning before opening the windows.

Replace room air conditioning units if they are old

Any unit older than 10 years is a candidate for replacement. By installing newer, higher-efficiency ratio units (look for the Energy Star on them), you could cut your air conditioning costs in half. Signs that you may need a new air conditioning unit include increased energy bills, poor airflow, odors, strange sounds and inconsistent temperatures between rooms.

Switch to a heat pump

If you are in the market for a new air conditioning system, another option to consider is a heat pump. Heat pumps are a more efficient system that can both heat and cool your home. They can reduce your electric usage by up to 65%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, thus saving you money on your electric bill.

Break the sweat this summer with these cooling tips

Summer can get hot, but that doesn’t mean your bank account needs to suffer to keep your home cool and comfortable. Other strategies to keep cool at home include hanging out in your basement, sealing any air leaks with caulk, taking showers, using a spritzer to splash yourself with water, consuming iced drinks and using lightweight, breathable cotton for your bed sheets.

Check out more saving tips form Alliant:

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