21 Ways to Lower Air Conditioning Costs This Summer

There are several ways to lower your air conditioning bill this summer. From personal habits to home upgrades, we provide an extensive list of ideas to help you save money on air conditioning!

PRACTICE MONEY-SAVING HABITS

By simply creating some positive habits during the summer months, you can save big on air conditioning costs!

Turn Up the Thermostat While You’re Away

One of the most costly mistakes air conditioning mistakes you can make is leaving your thermostat set at the same temperature that you keep it at while at home. If you can turn it off while you’re away, you’ll see the largest savings, but if you prefer to simply set it higher so your home is somewhat comfortable when you get home, you’ll still save a significant amount.

Turn Up the Thermostat at Night

Similarly, as the temperature drops at night, setting your thermostat at a higher temperature can help you save on your AC bill. On cool nights, you can even turn it off and save more.

Make the Most of Ceiling Fans

In moderate weather, using ceiling fans might be enough to keep your home comfortable with turning on the air conditioner. When the heat does increase to a point where fans aren’t enough on their own, they still help in a big way. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, because ceiling fans are effective at circulating air and creating a “wind chill effect,” they allow you to raise your thermostat roughly four degrees without noticing any reduction in comfort.

Hang Out in the Basement 

A simple way to stay comfortable without cranking up the air conditioner is hanging out in the coolest area of your home. Basements are typically several degrees cooler than the main level or upstairs of your home, so changing up some of your habits during the summer to spend more time in the basement will make it more tolerable to keep your thermostat at a higher temperature. 

Make Sure Your Blinds or Curtains Are Closed

This one seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Allowing sunlight into your home will drastically increase the temperature inside of your home. Make it a habit to check blinds or curtains when you leave for work to keep the temperature and costs down.

Avoid Using the Oven & Stove as Much as Possible

This isn’t something you can do all the time, but being aware that your oven and stovetop can generate quite a bit of heat and using them less, especially on hot days, can save you money. This makes the microwaving and grilling food more efficient options during the summer.

MAKE SIMPLE UPGRADES

These upgrades are relatively simple, inexpensive, and highly effective when it comes to reducing heat in the home and saving you money!

Buy Storm Windows

While replacing your windows is the ideal option, it’s also expensive. Storm windows are a less expensive but effective alternative that provides the same advantages of a multi-pane window. Storm windows cost roughly a third of what replacing your windows would cost, but can be just as effective at reducing energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-e storm windows can save you 12-33% in heating and cooling costs. 

Cover Your Windows

Covering your windows is simple but incredibly helpful. Medium-colored curtains with white plastic backings are the most effective, reducing heat gain up to 33%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Along with curtains or drapes, there are several other heat-reducing options:

  • Interior or exterior blinds
  • Window film
  • Solar screens
  • Shutters

Seal Door & Window Cracks

Sealing door and window cracks is a simple, affordable upgrade that provides great return. For as little as a few dollars, you can see energy savings as large as 10-20%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. All you need is caulk and weather stripping to keep cool air in and warm air out.

Buy a Programmable Thermostat

To make sure that your thermostat is always at the appropriate temperature, upgrade to a programmable thermostat and schedule it to adjust automatically.

Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Both LED and CFL lightbulbs create drastically less heat than an incandescent bulb, but LEDs are the premier choice. LED lightbulbs create 25 times less heat than incandescent lightbulbs and last significantly longer, too. This is an incredibly simple change that you can make to save money in multiple ways. 

Fix Leaks in AC Ducting

Air leaks in your heating and cooling ducts might be costing you big. According to HGTV, the energy losses from air leaks in the ductwork can be as much as 25-30%. By sealing these leaks, you can typically recoup your cost within a year.

Replace the AC Filter

Replacing your air filters regularly can result in up to as much as 15% savings on utility costs. This is one of the least expensive and simplest ways to save money! 

Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced

In order for your air conditioner to effectively and efficiently cool your home, it needs to be in peak condition. This makes having your AC serviced in the spring a worthwhile investment before the summer heat kicks in. The benefits of air conditioner maintenance include:

  • Lower utility bills
  • Improved air quality
  • Extended equipment life
  • Reduction of expensive repairs

MAKE LARGE UPGRADES

Looking to go all in? These upgrades are a bit more costly but can provide long-term benefits. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

A big reason for your air conditioning bills being so high could be the air conditioner itself! If your AC is able to keep up with your demands, you’re likely uncomfortable at home and spending too much money. Some signs you should upgrade your AC include:

  • Your bills have increased.
  • It doesn’t cool your entire home.
  • It’s having more issues and needs to be repaired regularly.

Visit our page about AC installation to learn more about what should be considered when the time comes to replace your AC.

Upgrade Your Windows

We discussed using storm windows as a cheaper alternative to replacing your windows, but nothing beats the real thing. According to Energy Star, replacing single-pane windows with energy start windows can save as much as $465 a year.

Insulate the Attic

Like many of the options on this list, insulating your attic will help lower your energy bills during both the summer and winter. An insulated attic will keep more cool air from escaping during the summer, and it’s highly effective at keeping warm air in during the winter.

Install a Radiant Barrier

An additional option is to install a radiant barrier in your attic. Where insulation effectively slows down heat flow, a radiant barrier is designed to block heat from getting into the attic.

Repaint Your Home

Is your home’s exterior a dark color? If energy efficiency is a top priority for you, repainting the exterior of your home a lighter color makes a difference!

Install a Cool Roof

Cool roofs are designed to be more reflective than standard roofs, meaning that your home will absorb less heat from the sun. Replacing your roof is expensive so if installing a cool roof interests you, make sure to research it ahead of your home’s next necessary roof replacement. 

Upgrade Your Landscaping

Adding shade trees can help to keep your home cooler during the summer. As discussed here, planting taller trees on the south side of your home will help to shade the roof during the day. Trees with branches closer to the ground are ideal for the west side of your home to block the low afternoon sun.

There you have it! Use this comprehensive list of ideas to lower air conditioning costs to keep your home cool for less this summer. Pick and choose the ideas that make the most sense for your home, and enjoy the benefits!