By April Lewis-Parks
After a grueling winter of cold winds and snow, sunshine and the warmth that the summer months bring can’t come quickly enough. For all the fun and excitement that warm weather can bring, however, there is one caveat that no one likes to think about: rising energy costs. Utility bills tend to spike in the summer months as people have their air conditioning on full blast, and this can make it more challenging to stick to your budget, while also paying for all the other summer events you may have planned, such as concerts and vacations. As with any other type of expense, there are ways you can be savvier about your energy usage to keep cool and keep more money in your pocket.
1. Keep curtains closed
When you’re at work all day and your curtains are left wide open, the sun that is shining into your home can cause the temperature to spike dramatically and leave your house feeling like a sauna when you walk in. As a result, you are forced to turn the air conditioning on full blast or run every fan in the house to cool yourself down enough to sleep at night. To avoid this repetitive scenario, remember to close your curtains before you leave for work each day. Doing so can block the sun and leave your home warm, but not baking.
2. Invest in a programmable thermostat
There are some investments worth making, such as a high-quality appliance you’ll use a million times or a great pair of boots that can be worn to any type of occasion. A programmable thermostat should also be added to your list of great investments, because it can prevent you from being forced to run your air conditioning all day. Instead, you can set the thermostat to remain at higher temperatures while you’re at work, and then automatically lower before you return home.
3. Learn your AC unit
It’s time to get your hands dirty and clean out your AC unit to ensure it is maintained and running efficiently. Dirty and clogged air filters make your unit work harder to cool your house, which can leave you with a larger utility bill.
4. Eat more salads and cold foods
Preparing a hot meal during the summer time can not only leave you feeling heavier than usual, but the heat of the oven or stove can also counteract any fans or cooling mechanisms in your home. As a result, you might turn up your AC unit or run more fans, which translates to higher bills. To avoid this, focus less on warm meals during the summer and instead eat more salads, fruits and cold pastas.