Everyone knows that energy bills go through the roof during the summer. But with a little ingenuity, you can cut corners while still keeping cool.
It's hard to fully escape the intense heat of summer. It creeps its way in every time you open the door -- and some of that cool air creeps on out. Then, you crank up the air conditioner, and your bill goes sky-high. According to the U.S. Department of Energy
, the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills -- most of which is wasted! We recently discussed ways that you can reduce the humidity inside your home
, but what about just making it feel cooler in general? There are definitely some easy no-cost tips you can follow to stay cool for the rest of the summer and save a little money, too! Check out our top ten:
1. Cook outside on the grill.
Cooking in the summer time can make your entire kitchen feel like one big oven. The heat from the oven and stove top and the steam generated not only fills your kitchen but slowly makes its way through your home -- forcing your air conditioner to work even harder. Instead, spend 15-20 minutes cooking outside on your grill and bring the food back in -- leaving the heat outside where it belongs.
2. Cook with a slow cooker.
Another energy-smart alternative to traditional cooking? Dig out that rarely-used Crock Pot and test out a few slow cooking recipes you've been wanting to try. A slow cooker uses less than 25 cents' worth of energy in a typical to cook for 8 hours
. Combine that with the fact that you're not slaving over a stove or washing pots and pans, and you've got one cool cooking appliance.
3. Air dry your dishes.
Instead of packing all of your dirty dishes into the dishwasher, wash them by hand and then let them air dry. The heat from your dishwasher can make your kitchen feel like a sauna.
4. Change out your window coverings.
When it's hot outside during the day, the sun that shines through your windows will quickly heat up a room. During the day, keep curtains closed on south- and west-facing windows
. Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
5. Avoid placing lamps or TVs near your thermostat.
The thermostat senses the heat these electronics give off, causing your air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
6. Avoid the dryer.
Air dry your wash. Photo: Getty Images
Instead of using your clothes dryer, hang your laundry on an inside or outside clothesline. It's already hot and steamy outside: great for drying clothes and getting rid of wrinkles. If you need to run the dryer, run it on low or for half of the amount of time you normally would to cut down on heat and energy usage -- then let the clothes
7. Stash some clothes in the fridge or freezer.
If you've come back inside from the heat and feel especially warm, grab the frozen tank top or cold pair of shorts. You won't be feeling hot for much longer! Also, frozen or cold washcloths on your face are a welcome cool-down.
8. Use fans to circulate air.
Just because you have an air conditioner doesn't mean you don't need to use it all the time. If it's not a scorcher outside, use tabletop, floor and ceiling fans to keep the cool air circulating inside.
9. Landscape for the climate.
Think about where the sun comes into your house and plant trees or large shrubbery on that side to help create shade. Or, build a trellis
with climbing ivy.
10. Turn off when you're tuned out.
Unplug and cool down. Photo: Getty Images
Electronics that are plugged in or powered up give off a lot of unnecessary heat. When you're not using them, turn off and unplug your computer, TV, DVD player and power strips.
Still too hot to handle? For more keep-cool and other energy-saving tips, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website