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Keep Cool This Summer without Breaking the Bank

In a previous article we discussed natural methods of cooling your home on those scorching hot days. But understandably, some days the use of appliances such as fans and air conditioners cannot be avoided. Here are a few ways to use these appliances without racking up an unbearably high electricity bill.


  • If you must use an electrical cooling method use portable or ceiling fans instead of operating your air conditioner. Even mild air movement of 1 mph can make you feel three or four degrees cooler.
  • If air conditioning is really required use a programmable thermostat to adjust the setting at night or when no one is home.
  • Add insulation around air conditioning ducts when they are located in unconditioned spaces such as attics, crawl spaces, and garages; do the same for whole-house fans where they open to the exterior or to the attic.
  • Don’t place lamps or TVs near your air conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Install awnings on east-facing windows because of the angle of the sun.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.
  • Avoid landscaping with lots of unshaded rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides because it increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater; 115° is comfortable for most uses.
  • Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
  • Caulking and weather stripping will keep cool air in during the summer.