8 Sneaky Ways to Save Energy This Summer—Without Melting

8 Sneaky Ways to Save Energy This Summer—Without Melting

Small ways to save energy that make a big difference.

You love your air conditioner, really you do. But you don’t love the whopping energy bill you’re left with afterward, or its environmental impact.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, your AC accounts for 21 percent of your annual energy consumption, averaging out to about $239 per year. The result: 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions per household from air conditioning alone! Yikes. Depending on where you live, turning off your air conditioner entirely might leave you feeling a tad… well, boiled, which just means you’ll have to be thrifty with your energy in other ways.

Here are 8 ways to save energy that will put a little more coin in your pocket (plus, you’d really be doing the environment a solid):

1. Use the weather to your advantage

For example, on cool mornings open the windows and let the air circulate for as long as possible. Once it starts to warm up, close your windows and curtains. This will help keep the cool air contained and block out direct sunlight. The same trick applies to cooler evenings too. The less you have to run your air conditioner, the better.

2. Use fans strategically

Make sure your ceiling fan is running in the right direction and blowing the air downward. Setup stand-alone and tabletop fans where you spend most of your time, and spritz yourself with water to keep your body temp down. On breezy days, maximize the natural breeze by facing one fan inward on the side of your house receiving the wind, and another at the opposite side of the house facing outward.

3. Unplug unnecessary devices

Unplug all electronic devices and appliances you don’t use on the regular. Even though something that’s plugged in is turned off, it’s still using energy. Called idle energy, it costs the average American household $165 per year! You know what to do.

4. Invest in a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats can cost anywhere from $25 to $250, but they’ll save you oodles of cash over the long-term. The more expensive ones even include the option of adjusting your settings via your smartphone!

5. Go with the flow

Your air conditioner isn’t going to be able to do its job properly if your vents are covered with furniture, drapes and other kitschy doo-dads. Do some rearranging to ensure your vents aren’t obstructed so the cool air can circulate properly.

6. Change your air filter

If your air filter is clogged, it makes your air conditioner work harder, which is a huge waste of energy. If it’s been over three months since you’ve changed it, it’s time for a switcheroo.

7. Buy a smaller air conditioner

Cooling the primary area of your home with a window air conditioner uses up way less energy than an entire central air system. Determine the most important space in your home to keep cool, and purchase an air conditioner specifically for that space.

8. Turn off the lights

No, it’s not just the name of a vintage Nelly Furtado song. While today’s lightbulbs are much more efficient than the bulbs of yore, they can still produce as much heat as they do light—not cool when you’re already living in a pressure cooker. Keep room temperatures down by turning as many lights and electronics off as possible (you know, without feeling like you live in the 1800s).

What are your favorite ways to save energy?

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Woman cooling herself image via Shutterstock

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).