ceiling fan white hot day cool inside

How to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer—On a Budget!

Are you dreading the heat of summer? Relax while you consider these ingenious solutions to keep your house comfortable without putting a freeze on your bank account.

ceiling fan white hot day cool inside

Keep furniture clear

Your AC unit needs freedom to blast out air unobstructed by a sofa, drapes, or other thing covering it up or preventing it from doing its best job. Check every room. None of your furniture should be blocking that flow of air. This means you may need to move the sofa and rearrange the bedroom the get the air circulating well.

If you just can’t upset your furniture arrangements, you can purchase heat and air deflectors for the vents to adjust the airflow direction around furniture for the season. Available online or at your local home improvement centers like Home Depot or Lowe’s.



Apply heat reducing film

With roughly 30% of ambient heat coming into your home through the windows, one quick and easy fix to keep your home cool is to apply a reflective, heat-reducing window film to regulate the temperature. As a bonus, it even works in reverse, keeping more warm air inside during the winter months—and it’s quick and easy to install!



Cover the windows

Leaving blinds and drapes open when the sun’s rays are beating through the windows will turn your home into a sizzling greenhouse. Cut back on direct sunlight by closing all the blinds or other window coverings and you’ll naturally reduce the heat within your home.

Drapes, blinds, and shades are all very effective in reflecting the heat of the sun. Opt for those that are white and they’ll do an even better job. But they won’t do a lot of good unless you draw and lower the window coverings early in the morning before the house can heat up.


Turn AC off at night

Allowing an AC it to run 24 hours a day is a surefire way to make your electricity bill soar. You can lighten the load by turning the unit off at night. Prepare by lowering it an hour or two before bedtime. Because nighttime temperatures usually drop in most areas, opening the windows will allow those cooler night temperatures to keep things comfortable


Keep the AC working at its best

During the summer, make sure your AC unit, whether it’s a window unit or forced air, working at 100% efficiency so it doesn’t have to work so hard. It will guzzle less energy when the filter is super clean. Not only will filthy filters decrease your unit’s ability to work its magic, they will also eat up far more energy than necessary while pumping out dirty air.
Determine your optimal temperature

Experiment with fine-tuning the exact temperature to establish as your default. Start at say 77 degrees, then shift by one degree up or down until you’re satisfied. Then test to see if you can tolerate 78. Every subsequent degree which you accept will yield savings on your electric bill.


When you’re gone, turn it off

When you leave your house, turn off the AC. There’s no use keeping an empty house cold. Or if you prefer, turning the dial to 85 degrees will drastically reduce its electrical consumption. This tactic also prevents your AC from battling to regain your desired temperature on those super hot days. As a bonus, allow the system to take a break will prolong it’s useful life. Once you come home, just power the AC back on.

Preprogram the thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a relatively inexpensive device that you can install yourself and will more than pay for itself in a single summer. Now you won’t have to keep remembering to turn the setting up or down, depending on if you are home. Simply program it to fit your lifestyle and you won’t waste money cooling the house when no one is home.
It’s easy to customize the thermostat to follow your lifestyle. For example, you can program the AC to shut off at night, turn on before breakfast, turn it down again when you leave for work, adjust itself before you return. A programmable thermostat lets you set it and forget it.


Augment with fans

Give your AC a boost with a room fan. Ceiling fans are great to circulate cooled air but a trusty portable fan also works wonders. Fans increase general air circulation, preventing air from stagnating and accumulating unwanted heat. Combined with an AC unit, fans offer cooperative cooling.

It costs about $4 a month to run a high-efficiency ceiling fan on high speed for 12 hours a day (assuming a cost of $0.139 per kWh, which is the U.S. average ). The result is your home will feel about 7 degrees cooler simply because the air is circulating effectively. And that means your air conditioner will not have to work as hard to keep things comfortable.


Limit stove use

Limiting the use of your stove will give the AC a break from needing to work overtime. On exceptionally hot days stick to using the microwave oven, slow cooker, Instant Pot. Or use your outdoor grill.

Plant foliage

Though the payback on this may take a few seasons, planting shade trees and foliage around your homewill help stop heat from seeping in through the windows and roof. And the results are beautiful, too!


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4 replies
  1. Becky says:

    You must not live in the south. Turning off your AC unit even at night is a bad idea here. That definitely has to be an up north thing. We can turn the AC up when we leave the house but not to 85. The amount of energy the unit will then use trying to get back down to 77 will wreak havoc on the unit and the bill!

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Becky, your premise is actually false according to the highly regarded Sanson Air Conditioning company that has been serving South Florida in the Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie areas for the past 45 years. You can confirm this by reading Does Turning My AC On and Off Cost More Than Leaving It On? and a number of other articles on the Sansone website, plus dozens of other professional a/c companies sites. Still not convinced? I suggest you give Sansone a call at (866) 955-2718.

    • Peggy says:

      i too, live in the south. i would NEVER turn the AC off at night, it remains hot & muggy thru nighttime hours.

  2. Brooke Kingston says:

    I would urge caution with the air deflector for a wall unit. We moved into a 20-year old home that had these air deflectors in every bedroom of the house. The ventilation system was riddled with dirt and black mold due to the amount of condensation that builds up at these air deflector units. The deflection tends to create condensation buildup that attracts dust, which can develop into black mold. This is only my experience with these; your experiences may be totally different. Just be sure you’re not allowing moisture to condense anywhere in your air ducts!


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