9 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs in Rising Heat

Check out these energy-saving tips that will help your air conditioner do its job without breaking a sweat—or the bank.

  1. Aim for High Efficiency

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    Energy Star Rating

    If you are shopping for a new air conditioner or a replacement, be sure to choose one that carries the Energy Star seal. Not only will the higher efficiency save you money over time, but many energy companies, like ConEd in New York, offer rebates—just for making the smarter choice.

    Related: 11 Air Conditioning Mistakes That Spike Your Bills

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  2. Keep It Clean

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    Clean AC Filter

    To keep your system running smoothly, make sure your air conditioning filters are clean and replace them regularly; you'll need to clean or replace as often as once a month during the summer. 

    Related: Get Your Fix: 20 Easy DIY Repairs for Every Part of Your Home

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  3. Little Things Count

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    What Temperature To Set Thermostat In Summer

    When you set your thermostat, remember you just want to be comfortable—not chilled. Be aware of the settings; every degree you lower your thermostat increases energy savings by up to 6 percent.

    Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cut Your Home Cooling Costs

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  4. Close It Up

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    Keep House Cool

    Close the door! Listen to your mothers—were you raised in a barn?—and keep your doors and windows shut while the AC is running. Cool air stays in; hot air stays out.

    Related: 20 Summer Life Hacks Everyone Needs

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  5. Live Like a Vampire

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    Cheap Way To Block Heat From Windows

    Like a creature of the night, avoid the sun. Close curtains and lower blinds to block out summer rays. If you want to take it to the next level, consider installing exterior awnings to reduce heat gain. Awnings are particularly effective over south- and west-facing windows and doors.

    Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves

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  6. Don't Strain the System

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    Running Appliances With AC On

    Help your AC by not getting in its way. Try to do your heat- and moisture-producing chores, like running washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers, in the early morning or late at night when temperatures are lower—and energy costs are too.

    Related: 8 Appliances that Cost You a Fortune in Energy Bills

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  7. Give Your Oven a Break

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    Cook Outside

    Summer is the season for juicy fruit pies, but when it’s really hot, your AC might prefer that you direct your culinary skills toward backyard grilling, or concentrate on microwavable recipes and meals. The heat from an oven can cause your AC to work harder and your heating bills to spike.

    Related: 17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ

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  8. Protect Your Thermostat

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    No Heat Light Bulb

    Keep lamps, TVs, and other electronics away from your thermostat. You don’t want it to pick up ambient heat from these appliances and force the AC to run longer than necessary! Also, opt for CFL light bulbs, which give off less heat and save even more energy.  

    Related: Buyer’s Guide: LED Light Bulbs

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  9. Make Your Own Summer Breeze

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    Ceiling Fan Counter Clockwise

    Let your ceiling fan do some of the work! Make sure it’s rotating in a counterclockwise direction to push air downward and breeze past you for a cooling effect. 

    Related: 12 Clever Hacks to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

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  10. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!