When the mercury rises, it can be tempting to retreat into the air-conditioned indoors. However, running your A/C at full blast day after day can wreak havoc on your summer energy bills. Below are five more budget-friendly ways you and your family can work to beat the heat this summer.
Take in a Matinee Movie
Matinees—or movie showings during the middle of the day—generally have cheaper ticket options than movies that are played in the evenings, and theaters also tend to be less crowded during matinees. What's more, movie theaters are generally kept at a low temperature to keep the projection equipment in good working condition. If there's a movie you've been wanting to see, or even if you'd just prefer spending an hour or two sitting in a dark room and eating buttery popcorn, the movie theater can be a great (and inexpensive) option.
Barbecue Outside to Avoid Using Your Oven
In the winter, cooking a hearty meal in the oven can be a great way to keep your house toasty without turning up the thermostat. But in the summer, the same phenomenon can send your home's interior temperature skyrocketing and force your A/C to work harder to cool down your home. Instead, try to avoid using your oven on the hottest days by cooking outside or preparing a "cool" meal of salads and sandwiches.
Freeze Bottles of Water
A frozen bottle of water can be one of the most versatile tools for anyone looking to beat the heat. You can use these bottles as ice packs to keep other items cold, wrap them in a thin towel to place behind your neck or on your forehead, or let them melt a bit and drink the refreshing, ice-cold water. What's more, the fuller your freezer is, the more efficient it is—so filling your freezer with water bottles each summer can ultimately reduce your energy bills, even if just by a small amount.
Head to the Library
Public libraries offer books, magazines, movies, and internet access—along with air conditioning. Many libraries also offer daily or weekly programs for children, teens, and adults, from book clubs to story time or craft activities. And one of the best aspects of any library—its services are entirely free!
Turn Your A/C Up a Bit While You're Away
Increasing your A/C temperature by just a few degrees while you're away from your home can have an exponential impact on the amount of energy you use. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can decrease their utility bills by up to 10 percent per year simply by adjusting their thermostat to be 7 to 10 degrees warmer (in the summer) or cooler (in the winter) than their normal setting, for about 8 hours per day.1 A programmable thermostat can take the work out of this equation while ensuring that your A/C has been adjusted to a more comfortable temperature just before you or your family members arrive back home.
1 U.S. Department of Energy, energy.gov, https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats
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This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
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