This post contains affiliate links. Opinions are my own.
Here in the south, air conditioning is almost as important as biscuits and gravy. But running a big air conditioning unit can eat your budget.
So how can you save money on electricity? Especially during the summer?
These are my tried-and-true tips to reduce your power bill.
Close the curtains
Keep blinds and curtains closed on the south side of your home during the day. This is the hardest on my husband who thinks every window should be completely uncovered so the light can stream into the house. But, with light comes heat.
Also, remember that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Turn your blinds so that hot air is trapped against the window.
Cover up windows
Need a frugal solution? Just use thumbtacks to hang a sheet over the space.
Our front door has a large window in the middle with additional windows on each side. In the afternoon, the sun gleams against the glass and cooks our house. We had to cover the entire door with a dark sheet. I’m sure the mailman wonders what we do in here with a black sheet across the door.
Stop opening the doors
I tell me children that if God wanted the outdoors to be air conditioned that He would do it Himself.
Limit children (and adults) from leaving the doors open or running in and out. You could also consider adding a hinge to your door to pull it closed.
TIP: Also keep the doors closed to the bathrooms when you shower and while the room is still humid. Run the exhaust fan to pull the hot, damp air out of the bathroom.
Seal the attic
A few years ago, we noticed a hot spot in the hallway. Upon inspection, heat was coming through the cracks of our attic door.
Keep your attic door completely closed and cover with a towel, pinning it to the ceiling. (White towels blend in well.) Or, add insulation stripping around the edge to create a seal.
If you want a classier solution, invest in an attic stairway cover.
Refresh your air filter
Change the filters of your air conditioners once a month.
We were buying the expensive three-month air filters when our A/C guy told us that was doing more harm than good. Those thick filters cause more drag on the unit which can run your bill up. So, unless you have severe allergies and your doctor recommends the allergen air filters, stick with the cheaper version and change them once a month.
TIP: Write the date you change the filters on the corner in permanent marker so you will know when it is time to change.
Adjust the thermostat
You might think you are saving money by cranking the thermostat up when you are not home and then resetting it at night. But, if you change the temperature often, you are wasting money.
You could also invest in a programmable thermostat to help regulate your usage.
Also, set the temperature a degree or two higher (in the summer) or lower (in the winter) than you think would be comfortable. You might be surprised to find you cannot tell the difference.
Ditch the big A/C system
Don’t think I’ve gone crazy, but that big unit might be wasting your money. When our air conditioner died, we contemplated a new unit but opted for window units instead. Our home is cooler than it has ever been during the summer and our power bill is half what it was.
Turn on the fans
Create a wind chill by leaving fans running. We have a ceiling fan in each room (including the kitchen) and a floor fan for extra-hot days. Not only is the noise soothing, but it keeps hot spots from developing in our home.
Wash clothes with cold water
Unless your clothes are especially dirty, set the washer to use cold water only. Hot water not only heats your living room but runs your water heater which also generates heat.
If you have to wash with hot water, do it at night when the house is naturally cooler.
Open the laundry room window
This might seem really strange, but if your laundry room gets especially steamy, open the window but close the door. Humid air can increase drying time.
TIP: Did you realize that it takes the same amount of energy to run a half-load as it does a full-load? Always run a full washing machine.
Run the dryer and dishwasher at night
If you must dry clothes indoors or run the dishwasher, do it at night when you home is cooler. Running these appliances during the day brings up the temperature in your home. Then, your air conditioner works harder. And you pay more.
Clean out the lint
Hopefully, you clean out the dryer lint trap after each load. But, you should also clean out the dryer’s exhaust tube often as lint can get trapped. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it forces hot air to remain in your home.
Dry loads back to back
If you need to dry multiple loads, place your laundry in the dryer with your loads running back to back so the dryer does not have to cool down between cycles. Also, group similarly weighted items together – heavy denim, light sheets, bulky towels – to help cut down on dryer time so everything in the dryer is drying at the same rate.
Turn out the lights
Seems logical but for us, this can be the first money-saving tip we forget. When you leave a room, turn off the lights. If you are leaving your home for the day, make sure all the lights and ceiling fans are off.
And use a smarter light bulb or motion-sensitive lighting for extra savings when the lights are on.
While you are turning off the lights, unplug appliances to avoid phantom power being drained. Even if your appliance is plugged into the outlet but in the “off” mode, it is still using power.
Invest in a clothes line
My outdoor clothes line was a present from my parents for a birthday. They thought I was crazy when I asked but once I explained that it was not only a gift for me on one birthday but a gift of savings every time I used it, they were happy to purchase a clothes line kit for me.
Budget your billing
If your utility company allows, choose to have your bills set up for budgeted billing. The company will calculate the amount of power or water you used during the previous year and divide that amount monthly so you are paying a flat rate. Your account will be reassessed annually to adjust for any changes.
One thing to note… if you are new to your home, wait one year before setting up budgeted billing. If the person who lived int he residence before you was a utility hog, you do not want to be paying for their frivolous expense.
Cook oven-free meals in the summer
If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up, make a vow to leave the oven off during the hottest months of the year. We are completely oven-free from mid-June through mid-September.
More ways to save on electricity in the summer
Here are some tips from friends who follow Meet Penny on Facebook.
My mom taught me to close all windows…anyone that entered the house always thought we had A/C…nope not at all!!!
We placed ceiling fans and a box fan in the sun room on the back of the house that get full afternoon sun. We also haven’t opened a blind in weeks. Our neighbors must think we’re hermits. The fans haven’t turned off in almost 2 months. This heat has been brutal.
~Myra Kay H
Double glass windows and ceramic floors. They do a hot flash good.
Ceiling fans in the den & our bedroom. I”m waiting on the maintenance guy to put them up in the girls rooms. I think we paid $21.99 for them @ Lowe’s.
I do know someone that turns a sprinkler on….. on his roof. Says it helps. When taking hot showers.. keep door closed and fan on even after you exit the bathroom. Remember that all electronics produce heat…. not just lights and t.v…. computers and game systems should be limited during hottest part of day or at least don’t leave it on and unattended like my kids have done. Oh and save drying your clothes for late evening.
Our ceiling fans are on max!! I also close blinds UP, put up child gates instead of closed doors to help with circulation.
I buy the beach mats at Walmart for $1.50. Put little hooks up in each window and hang the mats for instant darkening/cooling.
If you live in an old house, like I do, doors can be a big source of air leaks. If possible, replace aged or compromised weather striping around doors. If not possible, put old towels or blankets down to block the flow of air under outside doors.
Other ways to save money:
- 12 Free Apps to Save Money on Groceries
- Money Saving Tips in the Bathroom
- 10 Best Tips for Saving Money on Groceries
How do you save money on power?
Have any money-saving hacks to share? Please leave a comment. I would love to know what you are doing to keep your electricity bill low.
FREE Our Family Planner
Subscribe and receive the Family Planner Pack, including Family Finance Printables for FREE!