Keep Cool, Be Green, and Save Money Doing It!

keeping cool in the summer

Image courtesy Care2. Click on the image to read "23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool," adapted from Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings.

Each summer, you can expect temperatures in the South to soar into the 90s and 100s without much warning. Keeping cool and comfortable is probably high on your list. And as tempting as it may be to crank up the AC in your home, this will also crank up the cost of your electric bill. So, in order to avoid this up-charge and still stay cool, here are ten money saving tips.

1. Use ceiling fans. According to Yahoo.com, a one-mile-per-hour breeze will make you feel three to four degrees cooler. That means that if your thermostat is set to 78 degrees, it will feel more like 74 degrees, a much more comfortable temperature.

2. Clean your AC filter. The average dust build up within an A/C unit can reduce airflow by up to 1 percent per week. To avoid this build-up, clean your filter every month and get the most out of your air conditioner.

3. Move appliances away from the AC. The heat from lamps, televisions, and other heat-generating devices puts a load on the air conditioning system, tricking the air conditioner into working harder than necessary.

4. Install fluorescents bulbs. Replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescents means that you’ll be using a fifth of the energy and generating less heat, all the while producing the same light.

5. Rid your home of humidity. Humidity makes everything hotter, and humidity within the home is especially uncomfortable. To avoid this problem, do laundry and take showers or baths early or late in the day. If your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen has vents, this is the time to use them.

6. Use a programmable thermostat. According to Energy Star, the process of heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50% of energy use in a home. Using a programmed thermostat can save homeowners around $180 a year by establishing a system that automatically reduces heating and cooling in your home when you don’t need it.

7. Take advantage of your drapes and shades. Keeping the shades and drapes of the east-facing windows closed in the morning and west-facing windows closed in the evening will optimize heat control throughout your home.

8. Don’t forget about the attic. According to Good Housekeeping, Attics can reach temperatures of 150°F. Avoid this heat getting into the rest of the house by insulating the area with sweeps and weather-stripping around the door. This is a low, $8 to $10 project that can save you money in the long run.

9. Skip the dryer. Especially for bigger items such as towels or bedding which may require a longer time in the dryer, hanging them to dry will allow you to skip the costliest part of the laundry process and it will help keep your laundry room cooler.

10. Avoid heat-generating activities. During the hottest part of the days, activities, such as cooking, should be avoided. According to Freshome.com, more heat being generated in the home means more energy being used to cool it.