Summer has officially arrived, and many of us will turn on the air conditioner to cool our homes. While this is the simple way to keep cool, it’s also the most expensive – averaging 17 percent of our annual energy costs. To save some money this season, here are some tips for how to keep cool the frugal way:
Close Your Windows and Pull the Shades
You might think that letting in that early morning breeze will cool the house down, and it will – for a short period of time. However, it’s best to keep your windows shut and the blinds or curtains closed to keep the outside heat and sun out. Opening the windows at night after the air has cooled will be your best bet at cooling down the house to make sleeping easier.
Avoid Turning on the Oven
This doesn’t mean you have to eat out every night – that would defeat the point of trying to save money! To give your family a good home-cooked meal during the summer, think about using alternative cooking solutions such as crockpots, a microwave, the grill or a refreshing fruit-filled meal. Crockpots aren’t just for comforting winter meals; they can make for a ready-made meal without throwing off the heat your oven will. Throw in some chicken thighs, olive oil and your seasonings of choice, set on low, and six to eight hours later you have a delicious hassle-free meal. If grilling is your choice, the mess and the heat stay outside. And, finally, if you’re just too hot to cook at all, try eating cool soups, salads, fruit and frozen drinks to cool your internal temperature.
Turn Off What You Aren’t Using
This includes lights, electronics and appliances. The dishwasher can throw off heat during the wash cycle; lights that are not equipped with energy-efficient bulbs can create heat in the room; and game consoles and computers throw off heat even in sleep or standby mode. Shutting them off, unplugging them or switching to energy-efficient products is the best way to eliminate the heat they create in the home.
Use Fans Efficiently
Fans can be great for keeping you cool when you have to be in the house. Ceiling fans can be used in both summer and winter. For maximum efficiency in the summer, make sure you turn your fans to rotate counter-clockwise so you feel the air being pushed down on you. If you’re using an oscillating room fan, consider a water spritzer to mist your skin. The evaporating water will help cool your body temperature. And don’t forget to turn on your bathroom fan to whisk that hot air out of the room.
Focus on Cooling Yourself, Not Your House
For centuries people lived without air conditioning, and you can as well. Focus on drinking plenty of cool beverages, eating refreshing watermelon or berries, and even treating yourself to some frozen yogurt or an old-fashioned popsicle. Placing a cool, wet washcloth on your neck will help cool your body temperature in no time.
About Buffie Edick
Buffie Edick is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience focusing on topics pertaining to home improvement, interior design and living frugally. She often writes for Interior Excellence and is @BuffieLuise on Twitter.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.