I don’t know about you, but the past several weeks have been killer on my energy bill. Triple-digit temperatures have kicked my A/C into overdrive and even sent my fiance and me to the coast during the holiday weekend. I’m all about summertime but this heat wave is too much!
In fact, the eastern U.S. will experience extreme heat and humidity this week with heat indices — or how hot it feels — going well beyond 100 degrees. Other than escaping to cooler climates, there are several ways to beat this heat without breaking the bank.
Consider these tips and stay cool!
1. Keep Closed & Carry On Cool
Opening windows at night to cool off your home is a great way to reduce energy use. However, many of us often forget to close up before heading out for the day. Windows left open will allow sun and warm air to compete with your air conditioner, requiring the unit to work harder. Always keep your home closed up during the day so it’s easier to cool off when you arrive.
2. Centralize Your Cooling
The same principle holds true for closing up inside, too. You can cool areas more quickly and use less energy when you close unused rooms and vents. This advice not only applies to window A/C unit owners, as central air works more efficiently in smaller spaces.
3. Give Some TLC to the A/C
Keeping your A/C well-maintained is essential to cutting costs, staying cool and using less energy. In this heat, some people are running their units continuously so it’s important to check air filters monthly and replace them as needed. When temperatures finally cool off for good, cover the unit to ensure debris and moisture stays out.
4. Turn It Up
It may feel like you can never cool down in triple-digit heat, but keeping your house as cold as possible all the time isn’t economical. Increasing your thermostat by one degree can yield up to five per cent savings on your electricity bill. Also, a programmable thermostat is a must-have in order to keep your home cool when you’re there and save energy when you’re not.
5. Hunt Down Vampires
Did you know you may have vampires lurking in your home? Don’t reach for the garlic and knife just yet, though. “Vampire” appliances and electronics such as HDTVs, computers, cable boxes and even coffee makers use 4 to 5 per cent of electricity even when switched off. Powering down these electronics and unplugging others, like cell phone chargers and video game systems, will “kill” excess electricity consumption.
6. Keep Air Flowing
To keep comfortable even when the thermostat is turned up, simply turn on a fan to provide cooling breeze. The Dyson HOT+COOL bladeless fan offers powerful airflow and air velocity to cool you down effectively, and can lower energy bills by up to 20-per cent when used with air-conditioning. If this pricey gadget is outside of your budget, consider installing ceiling fans or buying boxed fans to increase air flow.
7. Upgrade to Save
Have you considered upgrading to an Energy Star appliance? When your existing appliance is working fine, the added costs don’t always make sense. When it is time to replace your window unit or central air system, make sure you buy Energy Star. Not only can you save up to 30 per cent on your monthly electricity bill, you’ll also be eligible for a tax break.
8. Consider Your Landscape
Many people know that trees provide a great deal of shade and can aid in keeping homes cool when positioned correctly. According to Bob Vila, you can block summer heat by planting trees to the east or west of your house to block early and late-day sun. In addition, ground covers can reduce the heat surrounding your house by 10 degrees, and vines near the home or patio may help cool the air naturally.
9. Refresh Your Insides
When you’re feeling overheated, pour yourself a glass of ice water to reduce your body temperature and stay hydrated. Use the oven sparingly: summer is a great time for dinner salads, cold pasta dishes and no-bake desserts. A hot day is also a great excuse for ice cream, so grab some mobile coupons for savings to TCBY, Jamba Juice, Baskin & Robbins and more.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognised consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.
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