Collins Community Credit Union

Surviving the Dog Days of Summer Without Running your A/C Bill into Oblivion

With record-setting warm temperatures, the summer is off to an extra-hot start. It’s tempting to crank the air conditioner, grab a cold beverage, and plop down in front of a fan running on high for the rest of the season, but running the air conditioner all summer long will add up fast. Luckily, there are other ways to stay cool through September without having to pay an exorbitant utility bill.

Published on Jul 03, 2019

Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, preferably with lots of ice. You can dress up your drinks with lemon slices or herbal infusions, too, to encourage you to hit your iced water quota. Struggling to drink enough? Keep a glass on your desk and nightstand to remind you to take frequent sips.

Whether you’re roasting asparagus or baking chicken, using the oven can quickly heat up the house. Instead of cooking with the oven, which will cause your A/C to work harder, take your proteins and vegetables outside and grill them. Dine al fresco or bring your meal indoors and enjoy walking back into a refreshing burst of cool air. Other dishes you can make that don’t require using the oven include salads, cold peanut noodles, tomato sandwiches, or veggie lettuce wraps.

Sunlight streaming through the windows - especially those that are south-facing or west-facing - on a sunny summer morning might look pretty, but leaving the blinds open causes up to 30% of unwanted heat. You can lower indoor temperatures up to 20 degrees and save up to 7% on cooling costs just by leaving the curtains closed. Using blackout curtains can help block sunlight, too, which helps naturally insulate the rooms.

Set your ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise, which will cause the fan’s airflow to create a breeze, and point box fans out the windows, which pushes hot air outside. Another classic trick: place a large bowl of ice in front of a fan and enjoy your chilly, homemade breeze.

The kids are out of school and, most likely, camped out in front of the television catching up on shows or playing video games. Plugged-in appliances create heat, so limiting gadget use and unplugging for several hours a day can cause cooler interiors by reducing heat production.

There are other ways to keep cool this summer, like planting shade-bearing trees or making friends with the neighbors who have a pool but growing trees and forming new friendships can take time. You can use the aforementioned tricks now to stay cool and comfortable, then you can use the dollars you’ll save from reducing your A/C usage to open a savings account, invest in stock, or take a budget-friendly vacation (preferably to a location with a milder climate). And to help keep you extra cool, remember it’ll be winter before you know it.

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