The old budget was just getting some relief from high winter gas bills. Now we’ve got to pay for expensive summer air conditioning. Where I live, summer temperatures can easily hit the 100 degree mark by noon, so leaving the air off is not an option. To help cut the bill, I looked into ways to trim cooling costs without melting in the heat. Here are some tips:

Seal Cracks

Inexpensive plastic film available at most hardware stores can provide insulation around older windows where drafts are likely. Foam or caulking also seals drafts. By sealing up these leaks, holes, and drafty spots, cool air from the conditioner stays inside instead of just vanishing through the cracks.

Clean Your Filters

Air conditioning filters should be cleaned once a month for efficiency. Run water through and let them air-dry. What a cinch! This simple task will make a huge difference! If your filters are disposable, remember to replace every 3 to 6 months.

Close Your Shades

Anything that blocks the sun from coming in will make it easier for your air-conditioning unit to maintain cooler temperatures. Keep shades and curtains closed as long as possible throughout the day, or at least until early evening.

Reset The Water Heater

Take cooler showers in the summer. This will let you turn down the temperature setting on your water heater for a few months. Turning down the temperature on a 50-gallon tank from 130 degrees to 115 degrees can save more than $50 a year!

Plant Trees

Consider planting leafy trees or bushes to provide more shade around your home. The shade will keep your home cooler and require your conditioning system to run less.

Program the Thermostat

Programmable thermostats keep your air conditioner from working harder than it has to! It will allow the temperature to automatically rise during the day when no one is home. This can lead to annual savings of 30 percent! If you have a programmable thermostat, use it!

Invest in Overhead Fans

This seems like a no-brainer, but many people still do not realize how great these fans can cool and help you sleep better at night. In our home we turn down our thermostat at night and utilize our fans instead. The savings was quickly noticed.

Avoid the Oven

Turning on the oven sends heat into the rest of the house, which forces the air conditioner to kick on and work harder. Consider an outdoor grill or even the stove top, which gives off less heat than the oven.

There is no need to sweat the summer out to save money. Give these simple steps a try and see what changes you notice in your cooling bills.

 This has been a guest post by Katie Femia from South Bend, IN
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Summer Sizzle: Simple Ways to Reduce Summer Cooling Costs