It's hot. You don't want a five hundred dollar energy bill, but you need the A/C. Or maybe you don't have air conditioning. Here are a few ways to cool off without breaking the bank or firing up that energy sucking A/C. 

Don't Overuse the Air Conditioning

A fan uses electricity, but the difference between a good fan and a window air conditioner when it comes to energy savings is about $100 a month. Your ceiling fans have two settings. One for updraft in the winter and one that pushes air down to create a cooling breeze, so check and see if your ceiling fan is on the correct setting. It's a good idea to turn on the fans and put on a tank top and shorts first to see if that helps.

Invest in a Good Thermostat

Old thermostats just have one setting, so you're actually paying to cool the house when you're not there and that can cost a lot of money. Invest in a new programmable thermostat and set it so that the A/C goes off when you leave for work and comes back on about a half an hour before you get home, so you walk in to a cool house. A new study shows that many homes have a programmable thermostat, but many don't take the time to program it. We have ours set to go to 78 at 5:15am when we leave and then I have it set to go to 74 at 2pm so the house is at a comfortable temperature when I get home. Then it's set to go to 72 at 7pm so it's a little cooler while we're sleeping. It's super easy to program your air and usually the instructions are on the inside cover.

Give Your Air Conditioner a Check Up

Over time, your A/C unit can get clogged with leaves and gook and stuff. That can dramatically reduce the air circulation through the machine and actually make it less efficient. In the fall, cover it with a tarp and bungee cord it down and in the summer, make sure that it's in the shade if you can. Every two years, it's a good idea to just have it checked to make sure there's nothing wrong with it.

Draw the Shades and Blinds

It's a simple fix that a lot of people forget. My parents actually have tinted windows, but they still keep the shades pulled when the air is on to keep the hot sun out so the air doesn't have to work as hard. Try and keep shades and blinds a lighter color, or get colored shades on the inside and white on the outside to reflect the sun's rays.

Did you know?

It can actually get hotter?! ACK! We think it's hot here during the summer check this out: It's hot everywhere! The United States is actually in the throes of the hottest year on record since records started being kept in 1895 and it just keeps getting hotter, but be thankful that you don't live in Death Valley, California. They have an average July temperature of 115 and it can be hotter than 130 degrees on some days. They have an average of 140 days per year where the mercury soars over 100. Bullhead City, Arizona comes in at second hottest with 129 days a year over 100. Yuma, Arizona has an average high of 104 from June through August, and in Marathon and Key West in Florida have an average daily year round high of 78. That I could live with. It's just the hurricanes I don't want.

So, do you enjoy the warm weather or do you hole up in the air conditioning when it gets hot?

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