39 Tips for Saving Money on your Cooling Costs this Summer

In the typical home, air conditioning uses more electricity than anything else. It consists of approximately 16% of total electricity used. In warmer regions AC can be 60-70% of your summer electric bill, according to Austin Energy. This is where the savings are folks, not in worrying that you left your cell phone charger plugged in too long.

The easiest way to save is to run the AC less often, and to dial the temperature up a degree or two when you do run it. My tips below show you how to be comfortable at warmer temperatures. I use these tips myself, and as a result I save hundreds of dollars every summer. I could take a trip to Las Vegas every year from what I save by not using AC. Even if you’re determined to not use your AC any less, we’ll cover ways to keep the heat out of your home, and more efficient air conditioners, which can still save you money.

Central AC is simply an energy hog. A window unit AC uses 500 to 1440 watts, while a 2.5-ton central system uses about 3500 watts. That’s a lot of power. A floor fan uses only 100 watts on the highest speed, and ceiling fans use only 15 to 90 watts depending on speed and size.

Let me put into perspective how wasteful central AC is:

Watt-hours per one hour of continuous use
Central AC system (2.5 tons) 3500
Window unit AC, medium size 900
Refrigerator with door left open 358
Amount wasted by keeping the fridge door open 215
Desktop computer system 160
Refrigerator (normal use) 143
Ceiling fan (42″, on high) 75
Television (19″ CRT) 75
CFL light bulb (60-watt equivalent) 18
Leaving your phone charger plugged in with phone connected after finished charging 0.3 (too small to represent graphically)

And now, on with the tips!

1. Raise the temperature

2. Install ceiling fans if you don’t have them.

3. Make sure your ceiling fan is spinning the right way.

4. Use a Bed Fan

5. Use a “Chillow” pillow

6. Use cold packs

7. Wear a wrung-out shirt

8. Run around naked

9. Rinse off in the shower

10. Use an AC timer or smart thermostat.

11. Clean the filter

12. Replace your air conditioner

13. Don’t oversize when buying a new AC

14. Use the Energy Saver on window units

15. Cool your condenser or window unit

16. Shade your condenser or window unit

17. Don’t block the condenser unit

18. Clean the condenser/evaporator coils at the beginning of each season

19. Alternative #1: Window Units

20. Alternative #2: Mini Split System

21. Alternative #3: Evaporative cooling

22. Alternative #4: Whole-House Fan

23. Alternative #5: Geothermal systems

24. Insulate the attic

25. Install a radiant barrier

26. Test your ducts for leaks

27. Paint the exterior with a light color

28. Install a metal roof

29. Install a white roof

30. Plant shade trees

31. Install an attic fan?

32. Make sure your doors and windows are well sealed.

33. Use drapes or blinds to block sunlight

34. Put solar screens on the windows

35. Install reflective film on windows

36. Use storm windows & doors

37. Reduce heat from lighting

38. Reduce heat from cooking

39. Use software to model your building

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