A Few Cool Tips to Stay Comfortable This Summer (and Keep the Utility Bill Low)


Ah, sweet, sweet summer. Kidding, summer is pretty much my least favorite ever. I can say that as a lifelong Floridian being that summer is mostly all year, and sometimes we have a cool evening in the 70s or that kind of spring-like day when it’s in the 60s for a minute before it gets up into the 80s. It is too much to ask not to have to spend Christmas Day with the air conditioner on because it’s 98 degrees outside? Not this past Christmas; it was full on hot. Summer is, for many reasons, my least favorite time of year. I have two-year-old twins with mild eczema who struggle with sunscreen and being too hot. I have four kids home all day long since the oldest two have summer vacation, and I work from home so that’s fun. it also means top up season in my husband’s car unless we actually want to die of heatstroke.

It’s hot, hot, hot, and I’m not a fan of being sweaty, but it seems to be my way of life these days. Summer here is just so long we sometimes feel a bit ungrateful for all that we do have. I do enjoy summer. I enjoy having the unrushed mornings with my littlest loves. I love pool days and boat days and blue skies and sunshine. I love sitting outside on the back deck while they play in the yard when the sun begins to set and we only half-sweat. I love melting popsicles on the porch and water hose fights in the driveway. It’s a pretty sweet time of year, and we live a pretty sweet life.

Except when the utility bill arrives. I’ve become so accustomed to $210 utility bills – which is impressive in our house due to its size – thanks to the fact that we actually did have a nice spring with relatively lovely mornings and evenings with open doors and windows. We have so much shade that it’s not always easy for our house to heat up so quickly, and we didn’t use the air save for around 3 pm every day until we woke up in the morning and turned it right back off.

So, imagine my surprise when I opened the utility bill for this month and saw that it jumped from $210 from the past few months to $348 – and that’s only a few weeks of the kids being home for summer leaving doors open, televisions on and mostly sucking up all the cool, comfortable air. It shouldn’t cost so much to stay comfortable, but I guess I don’t make the rules – such a shame. That said, my husband has mentioned maybe once or twice that perhaps if I turned the air up higher than 72 during the day that perhaps he wouldn’t feel he needs a parka at home and the utility bill might be a bit lower. Since that’s not happening, I thought I’d find a few alternatives to saving money this summer.

Shut the Blinds

Really, it helps. In our house we have a lot of shade. The sun rises behind our back deck, but we have so many trees that the back of our house never receives direct sunlight in any of the windows or doors. We stay comfortable all morning. On that note, the front of our house is made almost entirely of massive picture windows and a big glass door in addition to three dormers with huge windows. What that means is that the sun shines directly into the front of our house from about 3 until it sets, and it gets hot. Shut the blinds. It helps.

Don’t Cook

Inside, that is. Cook outside or use appliances that do not require you use any heat. Instead of using the oven, use the crock pot. It doesn’t produce nearly as much heat, which means it does not require you crank the air down any lower to cool off the house. Even better, grill outside where it’s also hot but doesn’t require you adjust your air.

Skip the Dryer

My grandmother always told me that there was nothing she loved more than hanging her clothes outside to dry and smelling the freshness of the air, her garden and all that mother nature provides. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It also means not using the dryer, so that’s nice, too.

Replace Your Air Filters

Apparently, this is a novel concept that really allows your air conditioning installation to function properly and efficiently. We all know that efficiently performing appliances are better than inefficient appliances, so while I have no idea what the air filter actually does – or where to get one – I’m going to suggest that you pick one up and replace it when it needs replacing or when the instructions tell you to replace it. The best air conditioning contractors can replace the air filters and check your AC for any needed maintenance. Regular ac repairs or ac maintenance is also crucial to ensure your system operates at peak efficiency. When it’s time for a new air conditioning installation, look for a unit with high energy-efficiency rating.

Photo by Getty Images


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