After a long winter, once the temperature gets consistently above even 50 degrees, it’s easy to kind of jump to conclusions and officially declare summer started. With the memory of the cold winter still lingering, one tends to find oneself feeling unseasonably warm.
We’re all trying to cut costs right now, and even though we are right now in the middle of a cold spell for this time of year, soon we’ll be looking for ways to keep cool. There are a lot of electric bill-friendly ways to do so. Here are a dozen of them.
1. Using a programmable thermostat – You can save a great deal of money by programming your air conditioner to turn off when you leave, turn back on just before you return, or when you go to sleep and wake up, if you live on a set schedule. You want to schedule it to come on a bit before you come home, so it is already cool when you arrive. Even people who only use the air conditioner when they are at home and awake often spend more because they crank it up to make up for it being so warm. Make it a gradual change. Big, abrupt change in temperature cost more than you’d think.
2. Leaving your bathroom fan on overnight – You’re still using electricity but not quite as much as air conditioning, and it will suck the hot air out of your living space.
3. Reversing ceiling fan rotation – Switch your fan to run counter- clockwise during warm weather months. This causes air to flow directly downward, cooling your home. When turned clockwise in the cold weather months, it pulls the rising warm air up toward the ceiling where it recirculates back down into your living space. In either season, if set correctly, you may find you don’t need it on as much. Just leave yourself a reminder to switch it back again with the change of the seasons.
4. Other fans – Maybe you don’t have a ceiling fan. If you do use a smaller electric fan though , put it in/near a window at night to really get your money’s worth. Better yet, put a bowl of ice in front of the fan for some extra frosty breeze. If you don’t have any kind of electric fan, you can either fan yourself, bribe your kids into doing it, or create some sort of elaborate mechanical fanning device. Necessity breeds invention, right?
5. Just opening a window – There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned open window, screened to keep the bugs and the birds out of course. Fresh, night air has a calming effect too, so long as you are not sleeping too close to the open window.
6. Keeping your blinds or curtains closed during the day – If you’re lucky you’ve got a curtain that will allow a good amount of light in, but not the heat.
7. Keeping unnecessary lights off – Do not deprive yourself of light to the point where you feel like you’re in a cave. Keep a light on. Just don’t keep all of them on. It makes a difference.
8. Not using the oven – Many of us are probably cooking food at home more than normal lately, but using the stove top rather than the oven, or even the microwave a little more will keep you from turning your home into a sauna. Or don’t cook in the house at all. Use your grill as much as possible without having to invest too much in lighter fluid and charcoal, that is.
9. Drinking cold drinks – Crack open a cold one. Your preference. Stay hydrated. When trying to keep cool, what better place to start than cooling yourself from the inside out?
10. Taking a cold shower/using spray bottles – Cold showers are invigorating. Hot water tends to make people tired anyway, especially when the room temperature is also warm. Put them on hold for the summer. In between, if you’re just sitting at home trying to stay cool, get yourself a spray bottle full of very cold water, set it to mist, and give yourself a spritz.
11. Switching to lighter bed linens – I don’t know what it is about fresh linens on a bed but unless they are straight out of the dryer, they just tend to feel cooler. More so if you go from a flannel or fleece sheet to something like cotton sheets. If you really want to go the extra mile, put your sheets in the freezer for a short time, then make the bed just before you get in it.
12. Sleeping downstairs – Again, we all know heat rises. If your bedroom is upstairs, you may want to consider camping out on the sofa downstairs, especially if you have a pullout. If you have kids, you can make a family camp out of it.
Stay cool, everybody.