11 Ways To Reduce Your Summer Cooling Costs

Blog | June 1st, 2023

Summers can get expensive. From taking vacations to cooling your home off, the many expenses associated with summertime can add up to a pretty penny. 

According to the Energy Information Administration, the average household spends around $1,856 on home energy bills—12% due to air conditioning. 

For this reason, it’s essential to consider how you might be able to save on your cooling costs—particularly as summer approaches.

Use this list of 11 ways to reduce your summer cooling costs to save money—and the environment. 

1. Turn Your AC Up

Your air conditioner likely accounts for most of your summer cooling costs. Keeping your AC turned up is the easiest and most effective means of saving money on bills.

Consider turning your AC up when you leave the room or exit the house. You can always turn it back down when you get home. 

Most air conditioning systems also have fan-only modes and other energy-saving options that you can take advantage of to save money.

2. Adjust Your Blinds 

Sunlight streaming into your home can bring a lot of heat, costing you more energy bills. To account for this problem, there are several measures you can take.

First, consider keeping your blinds closed as often as possible, and this can help prevent light and heat from coming into your home.

You can also upgrade to blackout blinds or more energy-efficient cellular blinds, which help reduce cooling costs. 

3. Upgrade Your Windows 

According to the Department of Energy, 30% of a home’s internal temperature is lost to inefficient windows. 

The DOE recommends using solar screens to cover your windows and prevent sunlight from streaming in. Solar screens mitigate the effects of sunlight, preventing heat from entering your home (and preventing fresh air from leaving). Alternatively, you can get stick-on coverings to insulate your windows further or upgrade to a more energy-conscious option. 

4. Use Fans 

The more air circulates throughout your home, the cooler you can keep it—without relying on pricey air conditioning. 

Consider using a ceiling fan for maximum efficiency, or opt for small, portable fans you can bring from room to room.

You can also install small fans throughout your home and near air conditioning systems to ensure that the cool air circulates as much as possible. 

A fan will keep the airflow fresh and regularly circulating throughout your home, eclipsing the need for air conditioning.

5. Replace Your Old AC System 

Inefficient systems often require more energy—and thus more funds—to operate efficiently. 

The first step is to maintain your existing energy system. Replace your AC filter every month or two to ensure proper filtration. Clean the coils in the machine regularly and trim foliage outside the unit.

If your air conditioning system is old, consider replacing it. Using a more modern design might pose a short-term expense, but it will help in the long term. 

6. Hang Out Downstairs 

As you may know,  heat rises.

This means that the higher up in your home you are, the warmer it will be. You can mitigate the effects of heat by remaining on lower floors or spending time in your basement. These areas are likely to stay cooler than higher vantage points, allowing you to enjoy a more temperate atmosphere without spending any money. 

You can also place your air conditioner downstairs to make the most of your home cooling system or carry portable fans downstairs to dispel residual heat. 

7. Insulate Your Home 

Insulation doesn’t just keep heat in your home; it also prevents cool air from escaping.  Ensure that your walls are properly insulated and that your insulation is intact.

Check your home for leaks or cracks in walls, doorways, and windows. Look for gaps where air can come and go. You can find leaks by searching for small holes in your walls, roof, and windows or feeling for airflow to and from rooms in your home. 

You can even hire a professional appraiser for an energy audit. A professional can help you quickly determine which home parts need fixing to minimize energy bills.

8. Use an Alternative Cooling System

If your energy system is old, consider upgrading to a new device. You can slash your energy bills nearly in half with a high energy-efficiency ratio device known as EER. This metric is measured using Energy Stars. The higher the rating, the more energy-conscious the new system is. 

You can also use alternative systems such as ductless mini-split air conditioners or heat pumps to remove heat from your home creatively.  

9. Avoid Using Your Oven and Stove 

Major appliances such as the stove and oven consume a ton of energy. 

Additionally, your heat-powered devices generate tremendous amounts of hot air that escape into your home, making it warmer.

If you can, avoid using your stove and oven. Eat raw or cold foods as frequently as possible or cook using your microwave. 

9. Use Energy-Saving Mode on Your AC

Most air conditioning systems come with energy-saving capabilities.

If you have a smart device, you can use automated settings. A smart thermostat can help you save money on energy bills, monitor your air filters, and more. 

Even if you only have a basic window unit, most come equipped with an energy-saving feature that minimizes your expenditures during the hot summer months. 

The energy-saving mode on your device should be able to adjust the temperature to be more affordable without compromising your comfort. 

11. Plant Trees

The more shade surrounds your home, the less money you’ll need to spend on your cooling system. Planting trees is an excellent way to generate more shade. You can plant leafy trees by your air conditioning system or near your roof to maximize the benefits of this method. 

Remember to trim the leaves and ensure that your trees are at a safe distance from your home. You’ll need to clear any loose leaves and debris from your AC so it doesn’t clog. 

Planting trees is a great way to produce shade; it also improves the air quality around your home and lends to your curb appeal. Just be cautious not to plant trees too close to the roof so they won’t fall in the event of a storm. 

Final Thoughts 

Many people spend much more on energy bills during the summer months.

As summer approaches, there are many measures you can take to reduce your energy bills and save on your home cooling system.

Consider checking your home for leaks, using alternative energy systems, placing your cooling system in energy-saving mode, and planting trees. Use one or several of the methods above to maximize your comfort—and minimize your expenditures. 

Related: Editor’s Choice: Our Favorite Cool Summer Recipes