As summer weather sweeps the nation, many people are switching on their air conditioners to stay cool in the heat. High temperatures, though, often mark the beginning of high air conditioning costs, especially in the warmer areas of the country.
You don’t have to go broke this summer to stay cool. In addition to keeping your air conditioner maintained properly and in good working condition, there are lots of different ways to beat the heat without breaking the bank this summer. Try these tips to help cut air conditioning costs and still stay cool!
Use Ceiling Fans Correctly
If you have a ceiling fan, by all means use it! Just make sure that it’s rotating in the proper direction. In the warmer months, your ceiling fan should be rotating counter-clockwise. This produces a downdraft or breeze that cools the skin, which allows you to turn up the thermostat because you feel cooler. Since ceiling fans just produce a comfortable breeze and don’t actually cool a room, though, you should turn them off when you aren’t in a room.
Keep Appliances Off During the Day
Appliances like ovens, ranges, dishwashers, and driers typically produce heat. Not only is this uncomfortable for you, but it can also make your air conditioner work harder. Try not to use these heat producing appliances until the sun goes down. Better yet, try not to use them at all! cook dinner on the grill on the deck and hang clothes to dry outside.
Shut the Drapes
It may be nice to let the natural light flow into your home, but it can also cause temperatures to rise indoors. Hang heavy drapes over windows that let in the most sun and keep them shut during the day. This can keep a good deal of heat out and help you cut air conditioning costs. You can open them again when the sun goes down at night.
If your kids are complaining about the heat and trying to turn down the thermostat, maybe it’s time for a water balloon fight. Every year, I stock up on loads of water balloons to have on hand for hot days. You can also go swimming, set up the sprinkler system, take a cool shower, or even carry a water spritzer. Water evaporating from the skin provides a cooling effect, which can help you be more comfortable on hot days and let you raise the AC thermostat.
Do Some Landscaping
Trees, vines, and shrubs not only help add visual appeal to a home, but they can also help keep it cool. You can possibly cut air conditioning costs with some creative landscaping outside of windows that let in the most sun. Plant tall trees, bushy shrubs, or climbing vines on the sunniest side of the house. This will prevent the rays of the sun from beating on the side of the house and streaming into the windows. Just make sure that you don’t plant trees too close to a building or septic tank, since this can cause expensive damage down the road.
Build a DIY Air Conditioner
What? You didn’t know you could build your own AC? A DIY air conditioners – also sometimes referred to as a redneck AC – isn’t as hard to build as you may think. All you really need is a cheap Styrofoam cooler, a small fan, and some frozen jugs of water. Put the frozen bottles of water in the cooler and cut two holes in the cooler – one the size of the fan and a smaller one to let the cold air escape. Place the fan snugly inside one hole and turn it on. It will push the cool air from the frozen jugs of ice out the second hole in the cooler. Although it isn’t necessarily pretty, a redneck AC can really help cut air conditioning costs, since a fan uses a lot less energy than a large AC unit. For a better explanation on how to build a DIY air conditioner, check out the second video on this page.