How to keep cool on a budget this summer


woman staying cool in front of fan

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Temperatures are reaching into the 90s all across the U.S. right now — that’s right, it’s officially summer! And with summertime heat comes the ever-increasing electricity bill from running our air-conditioning units day and night.

We’ve collected some tips to help keep you cool this summer, and keep your air-conditioner use at a minimum. Follow these guidelines to cool down your home or apartment, and keep that money in your wallet.

  1. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your blinds, shades and/or curtains pulled during daylight hours to help keep your home cool. This is especially helpful in rooms that receive a lot of direct sunlight; you can always let natural light through windows on more shady sides of your home.
  2. Cleaning or replacing the air filters on your air-conditioner can help it run more efficiently, according to the Department of Energy. Good Housekeeping magazine says you can clean the filter by vacuuming it with the long, narrow attachment, then rinse it with running water (do not use detergent; a mixture of baking soda and water can be used if the filter is especially dirty).
  3. If you live in an area of the country where it gets cooler at night, turn off the air-conditioner and open your windows when the temperature dips down. FrugalLivingNW.com suggests increasing the cross-flow of a nighttime breeze by opening windows on opposite ends of the house, and using fans positioned in front of the windows to amp up the airflow.
  4. Lighting and the use of the oven can play a big role in how warm your home feels. FrugalLivingNW.com suggests turning off any lights that use halogen or incandescent light bulbs as they create heat. CommonSenseHome.com says using an outdoor grill or a Crockpot to prepare dinner — you can also try these cool summer salads — will also help keep the indoor temperature down.
  5. Don’t forget to change the direction of your ceiling fans when summer rolls around! According to Energy Star, your ceiling fan should run in a counterclockwise direction during the hotter months. This direction creates more airflow and helps you feel cooler. Switch it back when the temps drop to create an “updraft,” which will bring warm air near the ceiling down into the room, keeping you warmer in the winter.