Save money and keep cool

Summer is upon us.  And here in Chicagoland, we’ve already hit days in the high 90s.  So we’re all going to want to stay cool in our homes.  And we’d like to do that spending as little money as possible.  So here are some tips on saving money while keeping your house cool.

1.  If you can stand it, use a ceiling fan.  This circulates the air in an effort to keep you cool.  Just remember that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.  So if you’re not going to be in the room, turn it off.  And make sure that it’s circulating air downward.

2. Keep your thermostat programmed to save money.  If you’re home and you can stand it, keep it around 78 degrees.  You can turn it up when you’re away.  For every degree over 80, you save 2-3%.

3. Leave at least 90% of the air vents open in your home.  You can create a pressure imbalance by leaving more than 10% closed.  It reduces the effectiveness of the cooling system by doing that.

4. Replace disposable dirty air filters at least once a month and clean permanent ones just as often.  If your air filter is dirty, it causes the air conditioner to work harder, raising your electric bills.

5. If you can avoid it, don’t use the oven during the day.  Instead, use a microwave, slow cooker, or toaster oven.  The heat caused by the oven makes the air conditioner work harder to cool the house.  And use appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine early in the morning or at night, when energy costs go down.

6. Keep the sun out.  If the sun doesn’t get in, the house won’t be as warm to begin with.  Use sunscreens and good blinds/shades in rooms you’re not in.  Close the curtains on south and west-facing windows during the day.  White blinds and drapes do the best at reflecting heat away from the house.  

I’d love to hear your tips for saving money by keeping your house cool.  Please leave me a comment or visit me online.