Stay cool without exploding your electric bill

I hate a hot house. Hate it. But I also hate a house that’s so cold you have to layer up in July. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to keep your house cool while not running the air conditioning.

Your home will be livable enough to survive, and bonus, you’ll avoid spending a million Simoleons on the electric bill. You may have seen some of these ideas before, but I’ve been trying them and they work (thus far; maybe I’ll update this post in late August when it’s really hot).

  • Open the windows at night and put a fan with an intake setting in the window. The air conditioning will get an eight-hour breather and you’ll stay relatively comfortable. If it’s one of those 85-degree nights, however, you may just need to spend the money on the A.C.
  • If you’re running the air conditioning, clean the filters. Clean filters mean the unit runs more efficiently. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube explaining how to do it yourself.
  • During the day, keep your windows shut, the curtains drawn, and the blinds closed, especially on the side of your home that gets the most direct sunlight. If you desire the sun’s sweet rays and must open the curtains, try using window film to block out heat. You can find them at almost any hardware store and install them yourself.
  • If you can swing it financially, set up separate zones for the air conditioning at your house. We have four zones (and yes, that means four A.C. units), but we rarely run more than one at a time depending on where we are in the house.
  • Turn off the air conditioning when you leave the house for work or to go out. (File this under “Duh.”)
  • Use the same draft blockers on doors that keep cold air out in the winter to keep cold air inside in the summer.
  • If you don’t plan on moving from place to place in the house—say you’re bingeing “Dead to Me” on Netflix for the next few hours—turn off the air conditioning and turn on the ceiling fan (blades running counterclockwise). Your room won’t get cooler, but it won’t get much hotter, either. Needless to say, the window fan-less may find this option difficult.

Give some of these ideas a shot. We’ve been turning off the air conditioning at night and doing the fan-in-the-window thing, and it’s been great. We’re even considering building an outdoor bedroom. Of course, that will cost more money, but we’ll jump off that bridge when we get to it.