How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Going Broke

How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Going Broke

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Stay cool all summer long.

Utility bills in the winter and summer are at its highest whenever weather extremes hit. When it is too cold, you’ll be turning up the thermostat to put your furnace to work. Your central air-conditioning gets a work out as you push the thermostat down. In any case, you’ll face a much larger utility bill following a prolonged cold snap or heat wave.

Skyrocketing Electricity Rates

Summer has its own challenges as most homes rely on electricity instead of heating oil or natural gas as is customary in colder months. In some locales, electricity rates have skyrocketed and will be shocking unprepared homeowners as they receive their bills in the coming months. You can stay cool this summer without going broke by means implementing one or more of the following tips:

1. Set it at 78 — If you’re at home and need cooling, 78 degrees Fahrenheit should be a comfortable setting. Raise it 80 degrees and above when you are out of the house for many hours such as at work all day advises the U.S. Department of Energy. [1]

2. Close up your house — With temperatures at 72 degrees, you’ll be opening windows and letting in fresh air and sunshine. Ah, spring! Come the first heat wave and you’ll be locking down your fortress. That’s not a bad idea too as heat and light can drive up interior temperatures, putting pressure on your a/c system to work hard. If you have shades or blends, close them up. If you need to shop for new shades or blind, choose white as this color does the best job of reflecting light. [2]

3. Use ceiling fans — When combined with central air, ceiling fans can move cool air around and keep your house cooler. Instead of having the a/c set at 78, you may find 80 degrees to be sufficient for your needs.

4. Turn off unneeded lights — Lights consume energy and emit heat. Only turn lights on that are absolutely needed and keep light fixtures away from the thermostat as the heat from a lamp can push up the temperature, making your a/c “think” it needs to kick on.

5. Turn down your water heater — In winter months, your water heater can benefit from a higher setting. In summer months, the opposite is true. Everyone is taking shorter and cooler showers anyway; drop the thermostat to 115 degrees and you’ll have enough heat to handle the dishwasher and washing machine.

6. Cold water wash — Did you know that most clothes can be properly cleaned in cold water? That’s right — it is the detergent that gets your shirts, socks, pants, towels and bed linens clean. Read care labels carefully and you’ll find that most clothes clean just fine in cold water. Importantly, these items might shrink if you use hot water and throw everything in a hot dryer.

7. Hang it up or out — Speaking of your clothes dryer, do you need to run it as often as you do? Dryers create heat and they can shrink clothes. Consider hanging what needs to dry on a clothes hangar or putting these items on a clothes line outside. You’ll consume less energy and clothes that smell “spring fresh” as the advertisers like to claim. [3]

Your Cooler Home

There are many other ways you can keep your home cool and save money too. Please see MSN’s “25 Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Cooler,” in the references section that follows. Put a few of these cooling ways in place and you’ll have manageable utility bills no matter how hot it gets this summer.

References

[1] U.S. Department of Energy: Thermostats and Control Systems

[2] MSN: 25 Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Cooler

[3] SuburbanHomesteading.com; Lessons in Laundry; October 12, 2009

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Categories: Energy Savings

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".