Save Money on Cooling Your Home

by BrendaReeves

No sooner are we out of winter and big heating bills when along comes summer with big air conditioning bills. With a few tips, you can minimize the strain on your wallet.

Running your air conditioning all day and night during the summer not only impacts your budget, but it also impacts the planet. Take steps to cool off, cut expenditures and take care of the environment at the same time.

Depending on how old you are, your grandparents may have lived without air conditioning for much of their lives. They accepted it for the way things were and unknowingly protected the environment and saved cash for other important purchases. We can do the same thing with a little ingenuity and minimal discomfort.


Fans are Much Cheaper to Run

Fans don't cool like air conditioning, of course, but we're talking about saving money, and to save money there are sometimes trade-offs. Fans won't cool the room, but they will cool you. I like the white noise that a fan produces, but if the sound of a fan bothers you, quiet fans are available on the market.

The trick with fans is to place them strategically throughout the house. Ceiling fans circulate air for a fraction of what it costs to run your air conditioner. Use them in conjunction with your air conditioner, if you must. At least you'll save something off your electric bill. To save more money, turn the ceiling fans off when you're not home. I turn the air conditioner off at night and use fans only.

Place one or two oscillating fans at strategic points in a room. On a really hot day, place a bowl of ice in front of your fan to get the effects of an air conditioner. Placing your fans at the northeast corner of the room circulates the coolest air.

Turn Off Lights

Lights Produce Heat

Keep the lights off during the day. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat. Touching one while it's on can produce a severe burn. Think of what that's costing you. Although the florescent, energy saving bulbs are a lot cooler, they still produce heat so turn those off too. Replace all the incandescent bulbs with energy savers and save even more money.

If there are rooms in your house that rarely get used, shut the vents, turn off the lights and keep the door closed. It's a waste of money and energy to cool and light a room that isn't even used.

Open the Windows


This doesn't work everywhere, but if you live in an area that cools off at night like California, Take advantage of that evening breeze by opening windows. Make sure to close them in the morning to trap in that cool air.

White blinds reflect the sun's rays. I have white blinds on all of my windows. If you can, cover at least the southern and eastern facing windows with white blinds. I bought mine at Lowes. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to hang. Lowes will cut them to size for you also.

If your house is two stories, live on the first floor during the summer. Heat rises making it oppresive upstairs. If you have a finished basement, live down there during the summer. It is especially cool in the basement.

Here's the best tip of all: Put in attic fans. Attic fans, run off a thermostat and suck all the hot air out of the attic which in turn cools off the house. My husband put one fan in our attic, and it made a significant difference in our electric bill. We used the air conditioner a lot less.


Plant Trees

Trees Release Oxygen

You can save money, help the environment and make your yard look nice by planting trees. One tree placed in the right spot can reduce your overall cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Plant the leafy shade trees on the south and west side of the house, and plant evergreens on the north side.

The first summer after I bought my present house, the front bedroom that I use as my office heated up like an oven. I think I could have baked cookies in it. I admired a river birch tree that my neighbor had in her front yard and decided that I had to have one too. The only spot available in my front yard was in front of my office. I discovered last summer that I accidentally cooled off my office by significant degrees. What I love about the river birch is that the leaves and branches aren't too dense. I'm a light junky and can't stand a dark room. This tree lets plenty of light through the window while shading the direct sun.

Ask your garden supplier to suggest the best shade tree for your area. If you have a septic tank in the yard, try to find a tree without invasive roots. There are plenty to choose from.






Updated: 05/04/2013, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 05/11/2013

Thank you for the comment. I have always been ecologically conscious. If it wasn't for my 90 year old mother living with me I would rarely use the air conditioner.

GermanUtopia on 05/11/2013

Good tips! For me, it is natural to open windows when I need fresh air, or to go in the shadow of a tree. I would never use air conditioning which is very bad for the climate. I like your articles where you inspire people to act more eco-friendly in their daily activities. Thumb up for it! :-)

BrendaReeves on 03/20/2013

I'm with you Katie. I like fresh air. I can handle the heat a lot better than the cold.

katiem2 on 03/20/2013

I love open windows and fresh air. Fans are all I need in the heat of summer BUT I have this one daughter who's ALWAYS running hot, even in winter and acts as if she'll pass out without air conditioning. I tell her it's good to know how to live without modern comforts. :)K

BrendaReeves on 03/16/2013

Lil, I know what you mean about Texas. I lived in the extreme CA heat until seven years ago. I think the dry heat is worse than the humid heat. Here in KY if a little breeze comes up it cools you because you're all sweaty.

Ragtimelil on 03/12/2013

I've lived in summer heat in Texas without ac so I know you are right. Don't forget swamp coolers too.
But living in a camper in full sun is another matter. Many people have TWO air conditioners in their campers. I only have one and I do get really sweaty in the middle of the afternoon. If you try to open windows in the summer, you just suck in hot air. And not only do we put white in the windows, but anything reflective, like car windshield panels or tin foil. Not terribly attractive, but effective. We're talking extreme here. :-)

BrendaReeves on 03/11/2013

Hollie, Thank you for the comment. Utility bills are a nuisance to say the least.

HollieT on 03/11/2013

Brenda, I live in Manchester, Uk. The huge heating bills in winter I can really relate to. But because of where my house is facing, my front room remains cold in the summer until the evening, so in the summer I work in my bedroom during the day because it gets some sun. I come down in the evening and that's when my living room (front room) has started to heat up, so I just have to use the ceiling fan to cool down. I always have my windows open for a while, even in winter (I'm a bit of a fresh air freak)

These are great tips for people trying to conserve energy and save money. I'm just thankful that after reading this article I don't have the air conditioning bills in summer! The winter bills are bad enough! :)

BrendaReeves on 03/11/2013

I don't drink beer, but I know plenty who do. lol Thanks for the comment.

Tolovaj on 03/11/2013

Turning the lights off can be of big help. Many people don't think about that. But to be fair we should mention a glass of cold bear too:)

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