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Tips to Save Money on Summer Cooling Costs

The summer heat has arrived in the Ozarks and already has us in a stranglehold. I published the following post last summer, but the wisdom contained within is still timely and bears repeating. Something I didn’t mention in the original article is that keeping your blinds closed during the day helps keep your home cooler.

It’s another hot one in the Ozarks today! I’m writing this on my lunch break, and the heat index is currently 104 degrees. While I work inside in a comfortable environment, I worry about those who work outside. If you are spending a great deal of time in this heat, please drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks, and don’t overexert yourself.

Another concern this heat brings is in the form of our electric bills. Mine was just shy of $400.00 this month. That is for a household of five people. Our main problem was that someone set the thermostat to 65 degrees while my husband and I were recently out of town for a week.  While that’s a perfectly good setting during winter months, it’s a really bad idea in the summer.

I work in the energy efficiency field, and I’ve learned some really helpful nuggets of knowledge. I thought today would be a great day to share some of what I’ve learned. There are several things that can be done to lower your summer electric bills. Raising your thermostat is the easiest. It is recommended that you set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher during the summer months. That is a bit warm for me. I like to keep our house around 73 degrees.

Replacing your filter as recommended is a great way to make your central A/C unit run more efficiently. Most filters are 90 day filters. If your filter is dirty, your air conditioner has to work harder to keep your home cool. The harder it works, the more expensive running it becomes.

Keeping your cool air inside is a key factor to keeping your bills as low as possible. Sealing around your doors and windows with caulk and weather-strip reduces your air infiltration. Sealing those cracks and gaps keep your cool air inside and the hot air outside.

Also make sure your fireplace damper is tightly closed if you have a fireplace. I discovered mine was wide open last summer, and our electric bill dropped drastically once I closed it. We hadn’t used the fireplace in several months when I discovered that it was open. I believe that we didn’t get it fully closed after using it last, and one of the earthquake aftershocks that we feel from time to time must have jiggled it the rest of the way open. It’s old, and takes quite of bit of elbow grease (strength) to get it latched.

Drying your laundry in the dryer produces heat in your home. It’s a good idea to dry your clothes on the clothes line if you have one. If you must use your dryer or another heat producing appliance, it’s best to do so early in the morning or late in the evening. I usually do mine in the evening since I have to be at work by 7:00 a.m. during the week.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of wisdom from the Ozarks Maven. If so, please subscribe. I plan to deliver little seeds of wisdom and ways to make life a little happier as often as possible.

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