May 7, 2024

Save money on your summer energy bill with these air conditioning hacks


When you're dealing with high temperatures, you need an air conditioner that can keep your home cool. The summer of 2023 was the hottest year on record, and scorching heat is predicted for this season as well. While it's important to stay conscious of your home's energy efficiency, it's natural to want a comfortable living environment.

With sweltering weather closing in, you may find yourself frequently scrambling to turn down your thermostat. But continually turning the temperature down can mean your energy bill continues to rise, especially if energy costs remain high.

We've put together some tips to help you keep your home as cool as possible while minimizing your electricity usage. Simple things like running a fan and closing your blinds during the day can make a big difference. Here are six tricks to keep your home cool when it's warm outside and be more economical with your thermostat. (We also recommend buying smart plugs and smart thermostats, adjusting your thermostat temperature, and using weatherstripping to save some extra money.)

1. Apply for an energy audit

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If your home isn't new, poorly sealed doors and windows, a poorly insulated attic, or other cracks could be letting cold air inside your home leak out.

To find out how well your home keeps out cold air, sign up for a home energy audit by your utility company or a local contractor. A certified home energy assessor or auditor will check your home for leaks and recommend the best ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Don't want to spend money on an audit? Do it yourself. Stand outside your home and feel around your windows and doors. Can you feel cold air escaping? If so, caulk around leaking windows and add insulation around doors.

2. Get a smart thermostat

If you haven't upgraded to a smart thermostat like Ecobee or Nest, it might be time to make a change. A smart thermostat can help you save money by adjusting your heating and cooling when you're away from home. Plus, you can adjust settings remotely using an app on your smartphone or voice commands. To help you make the best decision for your home, we've compiled a list of the best smart thermostats.

3. Check your thermostat location

The placement of your thermostat can have a big impact on how well your air conditioner works. For example, if you place your thermostat on a wall right next to a hot window, it will think the room is hotter than it actually is, and your air conditioner will run more often than necessary. Here we'll show you how to choose the best wall for your thermostat, and the ideal temperature to set it to.

4. Close the blinds

When the hot sun shines through your windows, it not only makes your thermostat turn up, but it also heats you up. Close your blinds to block the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Blinds also help insulate your windows, preventing cool air from escaping.

Haiku Smart Ceiling Fan with 3 Wooden Blades Haiku Smart Ceiling Fan with 3 Wooden Blades

Fans help save on cooling costs.

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5. Try a ceiling fan

You don't necessarily need to turn up your air conditioner to feel cooler. A ceiling fan can make a room feel cooler, and you can turn up your thermostat by 4 degrees “without compromising your comfort.” If you want to go high-tech, you can install a smart ceiling fan that connects to an app and automatically adjusts based on a schedule you create. Just make sure your fan rotates counterclockwise in the summer for maximum effect.

23 ways to save money on your electricity bill right now

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6. Increase the temperature

To save the most money, always set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can comfortably tolerate. A programmable thermostat makes it easy to keep your air conditioner at the right temperature: you can program the unit to keep it hot while you're at work and then cool it down just before you get home.

According to the Nebraska Department of Energy, setting your thermostat just 10 to 15 degrees higher for eight hours each day can save you 10% a year on your cooling bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your indoor temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you're at home. But if 78 degrees Fahrenheit isn't an option for you, that's OK! Making small temperature changes can save you big money, slashing your energy bill by up to 3% a year.

For even more energy savings, check out our home sustainability cheat sheet packed with eco-friendly tips and read about how you can save money by unplugging appliances when you're not using them.

Saving tips for the home


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