The dog days of summer are coming—are you ready? Don’t sweat your electricity bill this summer. We’ve gathered the best of the best pro tips to save money on air conditioning.
We’re talkin’ high temps, scorching sun, and of course, raging electric bills that come from pumping out cool, relieving air from our one and only saving grace—the air conditioning unit. Don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty we love about summer. BBQs, time with family, outdoor activities, lots of quality sunshine, the list goes on. We’re very pro-summertime. And just like you, we think all of that is great.
It’s the heatwave that we—and we’re assuming you— struggle with. And more pointedly, the resulting astronomical electric bill that often goes hand-in-hand with summer fun (you know, from cranking the AC waaaaaay up).
But we’ve got good news. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We’ve got a ton of unique, exciting ways for you to keep cool this summer. (Like, really cool—no matter how hot it is)! So keep ever-dreaded AC bill that comes a-knockin’ every June, July, and August.
In this post, we’re sharing all of our tips and tricks to save money on air conditioning. Because we’ve been through enough this year! You deserve to enjoy your summer to the fullest without worrying about racking up that electricity bill.
Our Top Tips for Staying Cool During the Hottest Time of the Year—Without an Insane Electric Bill
We all know that there’s one, fool-proof way to stay cool in the summer. And that is flipping on the switch for our trusty air conditioning unit.
The problem with taking a no-holds-barred approach to the AC during the hottest months of the year? That unit is going to be working extremely hard, will use a ton of energy, and will—of course—rack up a huge electricity bill.
Here’s the thing, though. Even if you can afford to turn on the AC, set it to Antarctic temps, and leave it on for several months without batting an eye or worrying about the electric bill, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Don’t misinterpret us, we’re all about quality of life and staying comfortable in your own home. (And we’re very anti-heat stroke, too!). But it’s important to realize that AC units use a lot of energy. And if you plan on running your AC through the summer months, you better believe you’ll be rapidly increasing your carbon footprint. Between the insanely high bills and the even more significant effect electricity use can have on the world around us, it’s safe to say that irresponsibility running your AC is “no bueno” for anyone.
That’s why we’re here to help! At WattDoesItUse, we’re very much on #TeamSavethePlanet. But we’re also on #TeamSaveYoumoney. So, we’ve come up with some helpful, simple, and effective tips to save money on air conditioning while also staying cool as a cucumber come summertime!
Do a Home Audit (And Even Better, Get Your Home Energy Score)
This is a great first step for anyone who’s looking to cut back on their utility bills in general. A home energy audit is a professional energy inspection of your home. It takes a good, hard look at your energy usage.
This audit won’t just look at how you and your family actively use energy (though, it certainly will do that). It will inspect the bones of your home to provide insight on what’s driving any wasted energy.
Why is this helpful when it comes to keeping your house cool without driving up your AC prices? Because most homes, typically, have more air leaks and insulation issues than homeowners know about. And that means all the wonderful, expensive AC you’re pumping into your home could be leaking out and cooling off the neighborhood.
In other words, if your home’s insulation is poor or you’ve got a ton of window, door, or foundation leaks, all of that cold air is seeping out of your house. And your AC unit then has to work even harder to keep the inside cool. That means more than just air is leaking out of your home—your hard-earned money is, too!
Our suggestion is to get a home energy audit (or even better, a home energy score assessment) done on your home. This will empower you to know where to start making important changes within your home to help keep that valuable, cool air inside where it belongs.
Become a Fan of the Fan
Believe it or not, fans can make an enormous difference when it comes to keeping your home cool and comfortable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a ceiling fan can help you raise the thermostat on your AC by about 4°F Fahrenheit with little-to-no reduction in comfort. And as you know, every degree counts.
Of course, not all fans are created equally, so if you’re on the hunt for a fan that’s going to help you reduce your energy bills, make sure you’re choosing one that prioritizes both energy efficiency and performance.
Get your AC Unit a Thorough Check-Up
Dirty AC filters and malfunctioning AC units can not only lead to more expensive problems down the road. They can also be enormous drains on the functionality and efficiency of your AC today.
Make sure you’re getting your units checked regularly. Clean out your filters (built-up gunk and dust can make your AC have to work much harder to cool down your home). And take care of your AC/HVAC units along the way to ensure proper functionality.
Don’t Rule Out Upgrading to a Smart, Eco-Friendly AC Unit or Thermostat
Smart technology is one of the trending topics in the home space. And not just because it’s high-tech and modern. Smart home technology is leading the way in energy conservation in our daily lives.
Even if that’s not really your main goal here, you can roughly translate that as “leading the way in money-saving techniques.” Either way you slice it, smart technology in our homes is working wonders for us.
So, believe us when we say that updating your AC units or thermostats to smart, automated technology can save you an absolute bundle this summer and beyond.
How? Smart units help you proactively manage your home’s temperature settings. They can ensure that you are optimizing your thermostat settings such that your using energy when you need it most, and saving it when you don’t actually need it. And it does all this without ever thinking about it.
Heating and cooling account for almost one-third of the electricity used in U.S households. And adjusting the thermostat by just 10°F for eight hours per day would save the average household 10 percent on its electricity bill. Or the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as a trip from New York City to Boston!
So if you can find a smart thermostat or AC unit that helps you set a “smart schedule,” set home and away automation settings, and give you air filter maintenance reminders, you can bet that you’re going to save money on cooling (and heating) during the summer, and beyond.
Window Shades & Drapes Are Your New Best Friends
This one is a super simple fix that can make enormous changes for your AC bill. Window shades and drapes can help to block out the sun that’s beating into your windows. And that prevents a phenomenon called solar heat gain.
All this means is that your central or window AC unit won’t have to work nearly as hard to maintain its set-point when you hang drapes or blinds to help shoulder some of the heavy lifting.
Your savings will depend on where you live, your climate, the types of windows, window films, and the size of your home. But you can expect to save substantial sums of money on air conditioning. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drapes or shades installed over clear, uncoated glass can reduce solar heat gain by 20-60 percent!
Consider Updating Your Windows
Two words: Smart Windows.
We know it sounds like some kind of futuristic mumbo-jumbo. But we swear, smart windows are a real thing. And they’re super effective when it comes to battling the summer heat. Smart windows can help to filter out the heat of the sun’s rays. And that keeps the inside of your home cooler without needing to turn up the AC.
Not buying it yet? Check out this research from Stanford University, which finds that smart windows can help a home save up to 20 percent in both heating and cooling costs. Pretty compelling! Even if you’re not ready to commit to full window replacements, consider trying out smart films, which offer similar technology for a fraction of the price.
As a bonus point, smart window technology can help you reduce your electricity bills in other ways. Because smart windows use smart glass, you can optimize the lighting in each room. That can help reduce the need to flip the light switch on and off.
Time for Summer Savings
The summer heat doesn’t have to cause all kinds of AC problems. There are plenty of ways to stay cool, enjoy summer, and save money on air conditioning to keep those energy bills from skyrocketing.
Want an even more advanced pro tip for conserving and optimizing energy this summer? Harness the power of that scorching sun this summer by investing in solar power. Harnessing the sun’s energy through solar panels can help you create clean energy in your home. Maybe it can even power your AC to keep costs even lower? Check out our beginners’ guide to solar power and our review of the best solar-powered accessories to start learning all about it.
Planning to try out any of these tips this summer? Have a few extra tricks for keeping cool during the hottest months without driving up your bill? Let us know in the comment section!