7 Things You Can Do to Help Save Money on Cooling Costs During Hot Summer Months

It costs homeowners $11 billion a year to power their air conditioners. As temperatures rise, it can be tempting to blast the air conditioner all day, every day.

We know that crisp air feels delicious in the summertime, but this move could cost you hundreds of additional dollars. Instead of choosing between spending a lot of money or being toasty all summer long, take some proactive steps to keep your home cooler.

1. Block Out Some Sun

You may view achieving natural light at home as the gold standard, but that gorgeous sun isn’t doing your energy bills any favors. About 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.

Choose window treatments that block out sunlight, such as:

Exterior window shutters and shades
UV blocking window films (these help keep out heat while still letting some light in)
Window screens
Reflective window blinds
Blackout curtains and drapes

2. Improve Insulation in Your Home

There’s no use in pumping cold air into your home if it’s able to easily escape. Research and consider having a home energy audit performed if you suspect your home is letting precious cold air escape.

Simple steps to remedy this may include caulking and weather stripping around your windows and doors. Addressing some of these issues may cost money, but should save you money in the long term.

Also, be sure to pay attention to any federal, state, or local tax credits for using high efficiency products and materials.

3. Maintain Your Equipment

To keep your A/C working as efficiently as possible, and get the most bang for your buck, don’t neglect routine maintenance.

Energy.gov has a great guide to  Maintaining Your Air Conditioner , and their suggestions include:

Routinely replacing or cleaning the filter. This is considered the “most important maintenance task.” This is even more important if you have a furry pet who sheds!
Keep your air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil clean. If you have an outdoor condensor coil, clean away any debris, like grass clippings and fallen leaves, and trim foliage back at least 2 feet to allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
You can probably handle most routine maintenance yourself. If you suspect your system needs more complex work, hire an expert.

4. Avoid Indoor Cooking

When possible, avoid using the stove or oven when it’s especially hot. This type of cooking creates a ton of heat, and it can take a toll on your air conditioner.

Planning and preparing meals in advance can be very helpful, especially if you can manage to do so in the evening or on a cooler day. Take advantage of the summertime to fire up the grill and do some outdoor cooking. Or, go with cooking devices that generate less heat, like a microwave or a...