Most people think about winterizing their home to help it be more heat efficient during cold weather and lower utility costs. Summer utility bills can sometimes exceed winter utility costs, however, especially if you live in a very hot climate state. There are several things you can do to stay comfortable through the hot weather where the A/C unit will not cause anxiety every time the bills roll in.
Even if you have no problems affording the high utility bills summer can bring, perhaps you are just looking for ways of saving some money to put to use in areas that better suit your financial needs.
4 Ways To Lower Utility Costs
Instead of using A/C, get a few fans as they will lower utility costs for you greatly. During the day keep the sun out; put heavy blankets up on the windows, even if you use blinds. Blinds do not do to well keeping the heat out. You could also use Styrofoam sheets in the windows or tape up camping solar blankets that you can purchase quite cheaply at Wal-Mart.
After the sun goes down, open windows and put the fans in the windows to bring in cool night air. Keeping towels in the freezer for quick cool downs during the day also help to stay comfortable, along with quick cold showers throughout the day or a quick spray of the hose outside. If you can, plant fast growing shade trees that will block any southern windows during the hottest part of summer.
If you absolutely must run your air conditioner, try only running it during the hottest part of the day, such as from 3pm to 10pm. Do you really need to use it for the whole house? Try only keeping one or two rooms cool that could be used a lot during the day or everyone sleeping in them at night. Keep up with filters and proper maintenance, too, for most efficient performance.
Cooking always heats up a house in a hurry so a quick solution here is to NOT COOK! Try only cooking once a week and make several cold dishes that can be served throughout the week. Salads, cold pastas, potato salads, coleslaws, cold chicken salads that can be served on tortilla shells and other cold dishes go a long ways in getting rid of the need to use the oven. If you would like meat or cooked dishes to go with the cold dishes on any given day, then use the outdoor grill.
Pilot Lights, Dishwashers and Laundry
The pilot lights on furnaces not only give off heat but also still continue to use your propane or gas and can be turned off for the summer months. (Make sure they are turned off correctly so gas is not still coming into the house!) Ours has a blower on it for the summer to help blow out heat and bring cool air up from the vents. I do not like it eating away our propane by 3% a week, however, so we turn it off for summer.
Try hand-washing dishes in the cooler parts of the day, usually first thing in the morning, rather than use a dishwasher. If you have a nice breeze and shade tree in your yard, try washing dishes camping style with a wash bin under the shade tree! If you feel you must use your dishwasher, then do not run the drying portion of the cycle and let them air dry. The drying cycle adds a lot of unwanted heat into the home. Only run the dishwasher with full loads.
With laundry, again, only run full loads and use cold water for washing. Do not use the dryer in the summer months, line or air dry to help keep the heat out of the house.
Drink Water and Borage Tea
Drinking lots of water helps keep your temperature down as well keep you hydrated, so be sure to drink lots of it. Also, borage tea helps reduce your inner body temperature and keep you cool.
When all else fails, my family cools off in the evening with good old-fashioned root beer floats! Of course, this is our children’s favorite summer cool down trick and yet is still by far cheaper for us than running an A/C unit! We live in a trailer with no shade trees in our yard, so we know about heat!
While it is not always easy to stay cool for the summer months, it is possible to survive them without air conditioning and lower utility costs in the summer. Now there are many things to take into consideration, such as where you live and even your age as the very young and elderly both have very low heat tolerance. Yet, for many, some careful thought and a little preparation could put a nice dent in lowering utility costs while staying cool and comfortable.
Carrie Hetu is not a financial expert, but has been passionate about finances since the age of 19 years old when a neighbor introduced her to taxes. From that time, she has made a point to increase her financial literacy into areas of frugal living, investing, real estate, budgeting and passive income. She currently blogs at Poor to Rich a Day at a Time and Simply Homeschooled.