In the spring and fall, I take advantage of nice weather and open the windows in the house. I like the fresh air and it is a great way to cut back on heating/cooling costs. Our electric & gas companies let us pay the average each month (just call or go online to request the average pay program). This makes budgeting easy since I always know how much the gas and electric bills will be each month. In the spring and fall I challenge myself to keep the heat or air conditioning off as long as I possibly can to help lower our average payment. Here are some tips to try to keep the air conditioning off until at least June. Please keep in mind that weather, region & personal temperature choice will vary so this will not work for everyone.
- Open the windows! This is a great way to keep the house cool. We are very lucky and have an attic fan which really helps to cool the house quickly. We also take advantage of cooler evenings to cool the house down so it doesn't heat up as fast the next day.
- Install ceiling fans in the kitchen, family room and/or bedrooms. A ceiling fan can lower the temperature in a room by up to 4 degrees.
- Take advantage of sunlight during the day and keep all the lights off. This will save money on your electric bill and keep the house cooler.
- Save errands and outings for the late afternoon. This is usually when the temperature is the highest and you are most tempted to turn on the AC. Leave the house during these times (usually between 3:00pm - 5:00 pm) and enjoy the AC in a store.
- Run the appliances like the dishwasher, washer, dryer etc. in the evening. Running these appliances can warm-up the house.
- If you have a basement, use it! Our basement is not finished but we have turned it into usable living space. Spending time in the basement in the late afternoon helps to reduce the urge to turn on the AC.
- Use your crockpot. Most people use their crockpot more in the winter months for stews, soups & chilis but you can use it in the warmer months too. The crockpot produces less heat than the oven and so it is perfect for warmer weather.
- Wear cooler clothes and take off your shoes. Keeping your clothes light & simple and going barefoot will help you to feel cooler.
- Enjoy the outdoors. A lot of sunshine can make it warmer inside than outside.
- Complete more active chores like cleaning & vaccuuming in the morning and save less active chores like bill paying for the afternoon. You will stay much cooler if you are just seated instead of running around.
For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.