Keeping Cool on a Budget: Spend Less on AC This Summer

The summer months are coming up and the warmer weather conditions mean higher energy bills. According to the AARP, the average cost of summer cooling has risen from $186 in 2005 to nearly $250 in 2011 due to the increased fuel costs. Even if you take measures to cut back on electricity, running an air conditioning unit can add up quickly when the weather is hot. Fortunately, you can take measures to cut back on your cooling costs by following a few simple tricks:

Improve Your Insulation

Keeping your house cool comes down to how well your home is insulated and how efficient the cooling system is. When you have gaps where cool air is able to escape, you will end up paying more in cooling throughout the summer.

While adding insulation to walls is difficult on existing homes, you can improve the insulation around your doors and windows by using weather stripping tape, notes Women’s Day. The tape will add an extra layer of protection against air seepage from the most common locations: the edges of your doors and windows.

Block Sunlight With Shades

When you are trying to reduce the amount of heat that comes into your home, reducing the amount of sunlight will help. You can put in roman shades or curtains to reduce the amount of solar energy coming in and warming the home.

TreeHugger.com suggests looking for a home that has windows on the north and south sides to avoid direct sunlight streaming in, you might not be able to find or purchase a house with those requirements. A shade or curtains can help reduce the heating effect of the sun without completely eliminating natural light in your home.

Also Read: How to Go Green with Clothing This Summer

Turn On a Fan

Although it can seem obvious, a fan is a much less expensive way to cool your home during the summer than an air conditioning unit. According to TreeHugger.com, a ceiling fan helps keep you cool rather than forcing a lower temperature on your entire home. Circulating air can help you feel comfortable, but it does not impact the environment or your energy bills as dramatically as alternatives.

If it is not possible to put in a ceiling fan because you are renting or are facing a situation that does not allow alterations to your home, then a small fan that you can move around is a simple and cost-effective solution. The fan is portable and allows you to cool down by circulating the air that is directly around you.

Go Out More Often

The best way to save on energy costs and reduce your impact on the environment during the summer is actually getting out of the house, according to Freshome.com. Spend more time in the outdoors, swimming or in public locations. You will spend less on cooling costs and you will still enjoy comfort throughout the summer months.

Also Read : How to Shop Green

Cook Food Outdoors

Although it can seem tempting to stay inside a cool home and cook meals, your home will stay cooler if you cook outdoors. Use your grill and you will avoid heating up the kitchen. You might even consider eating more cool foods, such as fresh fruits and salads, to avoid feeling uncomfortable from the heat.

The summer months do not necessarily mean you need to pay expensive cooling bills. By taking a few steps to reduce the amount of time you turn on the air conditioning unit, you will save money in cooling expenses and will still enjoy the warmer weather.

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