A home thermostat is rising in temperature

Top 7 Tricks to Beat the Heat (Without Breaking the Bank)

Ever wonder why July seems like it’s the hottest month of the year? Well, according to The Weather Channel, that’s because it is.

Here in the Midwest, it’s not uncommon for cooling costs alone to be more than $300 while Mother Nature does her best furnace impression.

So, here are seven simple things you can do this weekend to save money the rest of this summer – and every summer from here on out – on keeping your cool. Literally.

GROW (OR BUILD) SOME SHADE

One of the most budget-friendly things a homeowner can do to cut cooling costs is to plant a tree in a sensible spot.

Not only will the shade be free, so will the fruit (if you plant a fruit-bearing type).

But not everyone has the space, green thumb, or patience needed for a tree to grow.

That’s where awnings come in.

Adding one to southern or western facing windows can reduce heat gains by as much as 70%!

Prices vary widely depending on the size and style, so shop around. And while there is an upfront investment if you go this route, the costs should be recouped in a few short summers.

IT’S OKAY TO VENT

Are you 100% certain all the vents throughout your house are open? Truly positive?

Take two minutes just to make sure. And while you’re at it, consider rearranging any furniture that might be blocking airflow. Your thermostat is set to hit a specific number. The fewer vents that are open, the harder your system needs to work to do what you’re asking it to.

LED THE WAY

Here’s an extra incentive for you to fully switch to LED bulbs if you haven’t already: They emit even less heat than CFL bulbs, meaning less energy is needed to cool the rooms when your lamps are on.

And with many electric companies offering attractive rebates or incentives (not to mention the wonder of Amazon), it’s entirely possible to outfit every light and lamp in your home with LED bulbs for next to nothing.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

While it’s generally recommended to hire a professional for an air conditioner tune-up, you can do a little yourself to keep it running smoothly:

  • Clear grass clippings, leaves and other debris away from the unit. For best airflow, nothing should be around your air conditioner within a two-foot radius
  • Using a hose, remove the top of the unit and spray from the inside out. This will help loosen or remove items that would otherwise make your unit work harder than it needs to. IMPORTANT: Be sure to shut off power to the unit to avoid potential injury!
  • You know the thin mesh covering of your AC unit? That’s called the fin. And you can clean it with something called… a fin comb. Simply running one through the outer covering will help keep the unit clean of clogs and straighten out bent fins. Be gentle when combing though! The fins are delicate and can get bent if caution isn’t used.

LIKE (COUNTER) CLOCKWORK

Ceiling fans don’t actually make rooms cooler. They just make rooms feel cooler – as long as the fan is running the right way: Counterclockwise.

How do you know if it is?

Stand directly beneath it and watch the blades spin; they should be moving from the top left to the bottom right, back to the top.

An even easier way: you should be able to feel air moving. If you don’t, the fan is spinning clockwise.

If you need to change the way your fan is spinning, it’s literally as easy as flipping a switch (usually near the light encasement, on the side).

COOL YOUR BODY, NOT YOUR HOME

This is especially true when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Instead of running the air on full blast, fill up a rubber hot water bottle and stick it in the freezer. Then bring it up with you, throw it under the covers and: Presto! Your bed is now at least a few degrees cooler.

If you have satin or silk sheets, swap them for breathable cotton until the leaves start changing color.

And if you really don’t want to be a hothead, using a buckwheat pillow during the summer can keep you from getting drenched in sweat while you try to sleep.

WORK THE NIGHTSHIFT

Not you: Your appliances – especially those producing heat, like your dishwasher or dryer.

Instead of running these during the daytime or peak-heat hours, try waiting until dusk or a little later. Doing so will keep the temperature inside your house more comfortable and manageable.

For the truly vigilant, consider handwashing your dishes or using an old-fashioned clothesline.

There we have it: Seven things you can do this weekend (or even tonight) to lower your cooling costs from now on.

And here’s a bonus tip for saving more money every month: Reviewing your home insurance policy to make sure you have the level of coverage you need without paying too much.

Find an agent nearest you or call 800-766-MMIC (6642).

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