young girl cooling off in front of a fan

24 Ways to Stay Cool and Lower Your Electric Bill During Hot Summer Weather

Summer is an ideal season for backyard cookouts and dips in the pool. But for many homeowners, it’s also a time when electricity bills soar along with the temps! Thankfully, there are numerous ways to dial down the stress and stay relaxed and comfortable.

Stamp out heat sources.

It’s not easy to keep things cool inside when the temperature soars. But there are ways to reduce the impact of the most common problems.

1. Close the blinds in sunny windows so your home doesn’t become a miniature greenhouse. Of course, you might want to invest in blackout curtains, too. Or you could try purchasing inexpensive, lightweight thermal reflective blankets (intended for emergency survival) and covering the windows that collect the most heat on the hottest days.

2. Window films that block solar heat gain, reduce glare, and protect your furnishings from ultraviolet exposure may be a good investment if you have an extended cooling season. 

3. Cook outdoors as much as possible so heat doesn’t collect in your kitchen. If you do use your cooktop, run the exhaust fan to draw hot air outside.

4. Turn off heat-generating lights or replace the bulbs with new, cooler LEDs. Older halogen and incandescent bulbs burn considerably warmer than their LED equivalents and use much more energy! 

Eliminate humidity.

You’ve heard people say, “It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity!” Damp air indeed feels hotter and more miserable than dry air, but there are several ways to reduce the humidity in your home.

5. Run your air conditioner at a higher temperature setting. Even if the inside air is warmer than you like, you’ll feel cooler since air conditioners help remove humidity.

6. Run your exhaust fan when showering so humidity doesn’t collect and spread to other rooms.

7. Consider purchasing a portable A/C unit to cool a too-hot room and remove additional humidity.

Improve air circulation.

Hot, stagnant air feels stifling compared to moving air. However, these steps can boost your home’s air circulation and encourage the flow of cooler air.

8. Ceiling fans offer one of the easiest ways to create a gentle breeze. Just ensure they rotate counterclockwise and push the airflow down instead of pulling it up.

9. A bowl of ice cubes can be positioned in front of a tabletop fan to cool the air as it blows over the bowl. 

10. Box fans in open windows can encourage a cooling breeze across a room, but this method works best at night or early in the morning when temperatures have dropped.

11. Install a duct booster fan if your air conditioner isn’t circulating enough cool air into a room. Boosters are typically designed for 4 x 10-inch or 4 x 12-inch floor ducts and powered by a cord that plugs into a nearby wall outlet.

Tackle heat-busting exterior projects.

Modifications to your home’s exterior features can also keep things cooler indoors.

12. Create more shade in your yard by strategically planting trees near windows.

13. Install awnings over your windows. To prevent hot air from becoming trapped, select coverings that include openings along the top or sides to provide ventilation.

14. Opt for light exterior colors if you’re painting or replacing your siding or installing a new roof because lighter colors reflect heat instead of collecting it. 

Be good to your air conditioner.

Summer is hard on A/C units! Setting your thermostat a few degrees higher will relieve some of the pressure. But you can take several other steps to help your air conditioner perform its best and last longer.

15. Get your air conditioner serviced before warm weather arrives so it will run as efficiently as possible.

16. Use a programmable thermostat and set it several degrees higher when you’re gone. But try to stay within a five-degree range so your A/C unit doesn’t have to work doubly hard when you return.

17. Close off any unused rooms by closing the ducts and the door and covering the windows as completely as possible. It’s equally important to keep the doors open to the rooms that you are using so air can flow more easily.

18. Clean or replace your furnace filter regularly. Since cool air from your air conditioner blows through your furnace filter, completing this simple home maintenance task year-round is essential.

19. Boost the R-factor of your home’s insulation. Upgrading your insulation can save money year-round by lowering heating and cooling bills. Plus, a well-insulated home is quieter, with less outside noise.

Take steps to sleep better at night.

Do warm nights leave you tossing, turning, or waking up in a puddle of sweat? Summer heat often makes people feel irritable, especially if they aren’t resting well. Try these steps to get more Z’s:

20. Take a cool shower before bedtime to dial down your body’s thermostat and help you fall asleep faster. Plus, various researchers claim that cold showers may provide numerous health benefits.

21. Lighten your bedding by exchanging warm, heavy comforters for lightweight, breathable linen or cotton sheets and blankets.

22. Try cooling pillows and mattress pads designed to draw heat away from your body.

23. Circulate some air in your bedroom with a fan. Or draw fresh air in through an open window if the temps are dipping lower.

24. Rinse a washcloth in cold water and wring it out, then place it on your forehead before falling asleep. Sweet dreams!