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Forecasters are saying that after a long cold winter, we should be preparing for a long hot summer. The recent summer-like temperatures means higher utility bills already.  Here’s a few tips that can help you save money during the upcoming summer months.

  1. Turn off the air conditioning. This doesn’t mean you have to suffer through sweltering heat, but you should be aware of the weather so that you can maximize efficiency and save money by using it only when needed. For example, if it is going to be a cool night, turn off the air before heading to bed and open a few windows.
  2. Get window wise.  During those scorching days, or before you leave for work in the morning, close your curtains and blinds to prevent the sun from beating down into the rooms and needlessly warming your home. Bonus: It will reduce fading of upholstery and rugs.
  3. Get with the program! Installing a programmable thermostat will help save big bucks on your air conditioning bill (Get a good deal on a programmable thermostat at Amazon). You can program your HVAC system to run less while you’re at work or on vacation and have it run more to cool your home just before you get home.
  4. Replace your air conditioner filters. This can be easy to overlook, but a dirty filter can increase cooling costs. Dirty filters restrict the airflow and the efficiency of the air conditioner, which translates into more run time and higher cooling costs. Filters are cheap, so replace them regularly.
  5. Insulate intelligently. You know the feeling — somehow, it always seems 10 degrees hotter upstairs than it does in your living room. Reduce the effect of the sun’s sizzling rays by insulating your attic. This will prevent the heat that builds up on top from filtering down into the rest of the house.
  6. Keep lamps and TV’s far from the thermostat. Sure, they provide light to read by and your favorite reality shows, but they also exude heat, causing your AC to run overtime. Place the standing lamps and television across the room if you can and consider switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, which generate less heat, last longer and use less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  7. Make use of your microwave. Prepping dinner? Not only is it quicker and a lot more convenient, but four minutes in the microwave will generate much less heat than a half hour in the oven.
  8. Cook outside. Using the stove or baking in the oven can create a lot of excess heat that has nowhere to go except in your house. Consider taking meal plans to the barbecue grill outside so that you can keep your cool inside.
  9. Let your laundry dry outside. If you have the ability to hang up laundry outside, let the sun and warm summer breeze do the drying for you. Even if you can’t hang up clothes outside, try using your dryer on a lower heat setting or only partially drying your shirts and letting them air dry the rest of the way.
  10. Plant a tree. Plant deciduous trees (those that shed their leaves in the winter, like a maple) by the south and west sides of your home to shade windows from heat. In the winter, their bare branches will allow sunlight to stream into your home for added warmth. Also consider planting trees or shrubs near your AC unit. It will use less electricity when operating under the shade.

No need to swoon from the heat, or your sky-high electric bill! Hope these tips help to stay cool and calm during the dog days of summer.

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