As the temperature rises, so does our electric bill. And even though we could always just turn it off and live with the heat, I’d rather use it and put up with a little higher bill. So here’s some ways we are currently trying to keep the AC from taking over the electric bill too much:
Insulate and block the sun – About 2 months ago Cameron came up with an idea. He bought some of those sun windshield reflective things for cars, and cut and taped them into the right size and shape for 4 of our windows. They aren’t the most decorative thing, but they definitely make it so our AC doesn’t have to work as hard. Of course if you don’t want shiny silver sun shields on your windows you can just hang heavy curtains or close your blinds, but it probably won’t work quite as well.
We also bought an insert for one of our skylights. We got it at an RV center. I can tell it works well for keeping heat out because when I take it down in the middle of the day, the top of it is really hot.
Clean the filters. I love our AC filters, they’re just right on the ceiling, and I can easily get to them and clean them. Ours don’t need to be replaced, just taken out and have the dust shaken off occasionally. This helps the air flow easier.
Keep the thermostat up. Every degree warmer you’re okay with is a little less money towards that month’s electric bill. In summer we usually keep the temperature in the low 80s. Cameron and I are both comfortable with that. I turn it up a little when I go to babysit in the afternoons, and just turn it back down again when I get home.
A lot of nights we’ll switch our air from cooling to just blowing the fan, since it uses a lot less electricity. And we put a fan blowing directly on us and one on Gracia. When I lived in Paraguay sometimes I would wet down my shirt before bed then put a fan blowing directly on me. If you can get past the wet feeling, it sure cools you down fast!
Skip the oven. Since our house is so small even our little oven warms the whole place up. So during these hotter days I try not to use it as much. I do more stove top or crock-pot meals. And I opt for the microwave whenever I can, like baking potatoes in the microwave instead of the oven.
Shade trees help. We have two big fruitless mulberry trees in our yard, that shade some of the house during part of the day. I’m so thankful for them! We just happened to get a good lot, some of the lots are in direct sun pretty much all day.
What do you do in the Summer to stay cool?