Inexpensive Ways to Keep Your Home Cool All Summer

keep your home cool all summer

July is here and it is getting hot across many parts of North America. It is actually predicted to be as hot here today as it will be in Houston, Texas. But nowhere near as hot as what it is supposed to be in Las Vegas all this week.

Years ago our city didn’t experience very many hot days during the summer, or at least that is how the story goes.

But over the past 15 years the summers have been getting warmer and more humid. Even so, most of the houses in our city do not have central air.

Not having A/C is both good and bad, especially like today, when it is suppose to hit 32 degrees Celsius\ 90 degrees F.

Yes, we will save money by not having an air conditioner running all day, but at the same time, it will become difficult to get stuff done.

So, at times like this we have to find creative ways to help keep our house cooler.

If you want to save money this summer, instead of running your air conditioner 24x7, consider these affordable tips to keep your home cooler:

Block Out the Sun

use blackout draperiesIt’s a lot cheaper to keep the heat out than to find ways to cool down a room that’s already high in temperature. If you can, try to keep the house in the shade.

Apart from planting trees outside your windows, the next best option is to use black-out draperies or blinds.

It’s especially important to keep the window coverings closed during the hottest times of the day.

Stop Using Your Oven

Stop using the oven for the time being.

You’ll have to find different means to cook because the oven really increases the temperature in the house.

If you like, you can BBQ outside, or start putting your slow cooker to good use.

Another easy meal to make for dinner is cold salads like potato or pasta salad, served with your family’s favorite type of sandwiches.

Open Your Windows, Instead of Running Your A/C

Of course, this is best done when the sun isn’t beating down on your house. It’s not that complicated, but timing is essential.

Opening up the windows means air circulates and you’re not stuck with hot air. It works best when you have a ceiling fan to improve circulation.

Unplug Unnecessary Electronic Gadgets

Did you know that unused devices actually give off heat, as long as they are plugged in? Turn them off and remove the plug. The best way to lower the temperature is to turn all these gadgets off as long as they’re not in use.

It might seem like a small gesture, but it works. Besides, it helps lower your electric bill, too.

Get the Air Circulating

Increase air circulation inside the house. The best thing to do is to get a ceiling fan. It’s a cheaper alternative to air conditioning. Moving air helps improve the way you feel. You won’t be hot and clammy with a ceiling fan keeping the room cool.

window fanIf you do not have A/C you should also look into getting the type of fans that fit into your window sill.

We open our windows and then place these fans up against the window screen and as it draws the air in and creates cold air that makes the room more appealing.

Clean Your Air Filters

Some days you just can’t get away without using an air conditioner. So if you have one, and it is incredibly hot outside, then of course use it. But use it wisely. As Corina mentioned yesterday, clean your air filters in your air conditioner every couple of days.

If it’s clogged up with dust and bugs your air conditioner won’t work as efficiently.

A lot of people mistakenly assume that their air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. Others think that it needs replacing.

In reality, the first thing to do is to check your filter. Cleaning it is something you ought to do regularly, or replace as necessary.

Set It and Forget It

Don’t mess with the thermostat. Set it, and forget it. Some people make the mistake of constantly changing their thermostat throughout the day. This isn’t just expensive; it’s also quite bad for the environment and does nothing to improve the temperature in your house.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

If you are using an air conditioner then you definitely want to keep your windows and doors closed. And you especially do not want any hot air coming in through any gaps around your windows and doors.

You should check not just the windows but also the areas surrounding your air conditioner.

These small leaks can cost you a lot because you’re air conditioning the neighborhood instead of just your house. Get a professional to fix these leaks for ensured efficiency.

Don’t Use Dryers

It’s a good idea to air-dry things during the summer. Dryers use a lot of energy, and they also put out a lot of heat.


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 07/02/2013 6:50 a.m. #

      My biggest problem by far is the fact that I can't really have the windows open in the Summer. My allergies are so bad that if I leave them open, all the crap from the outside air blows in through the window and then sits in the house. I'm not "happy" per se about having to pay for the AC all the time, but it's a trade-off I'm willing to make for the few months in Minnesota where it is warm.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:41 p.m. #

        Sorry to hear that, but I understand. It is important to keep out as much dust, and pollen as possible when you have that. Do you have a Heppa filter on your furnace to help keep your air clean too?

    • Thrifty Dad

      Thrifty Dad 07/02/2013 7:28 a.m. #

      We've been BBQing quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. But a good BBQ is always made better amongst a feast of friends. So while our electricity bill has gone down, our grocery budget has creeped up, somewhat. :( Blocking out the sun, has had one of the greatest effects on our bill. Good way to keep the AC from running constantly.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:42 p.m. #

        Your BBQs sound like alot of fun!! We use to BBQ a lot too until we moved here. Blocking out the sun during the day does make a big difference. Dark rooms tend to stay somewhat cooler.

    • Thomas

      Thomas 07/02/2013 8:28 a.m. #

      We truly need to start blocking out the sun but the wifey enjoys having the light shine in. Tomorrow I am going to pick up some floor fans for the house. We also need to get better windows the ones now let all the air out. Its amazing how out the home gets when the oven is on.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:44 p.m. #

        I know, it is nice to have the light shine in, but when it is burning out, closing the blinds or drapes is a good idea. Mind you if you make it too dark then you just end up turning on the lights which defeats the purpose of saving money.

    • pauline

      pauline 07/02/2013 8:39 a.m. #

      I found out about the oven recently, it does increase the room temperature quite a lot. Also, we have a roof terrace and in order to keep the room underneath cool we have had to cover the roof of the terrace with mats so the floor of the terrace- ceiling of the room stays under the shade.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:48 p.m. #

        That is a good point Pauline, otherwise the sun was probably shining right into your room, wasn't it. Do you guys cook outside much, like BBQ or bonfire?

    • Tara

      Tara 07/02/2013 9:14 a.m. #

      I'm with you on the oven thing! I have an apartment that is shotgun style, meaning it is without access to windows for the kitchen and living room which means we couldn't have an a/c if we wanted to in those hot rooms. So my slow cooker is getting a lot of use every week (we use it overnight to further save on heat reduction) for our meals to save on excess oven heat!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:50 p.m. #

        Oh, that must be difficult without many windows. I have seen apartments without kitchen windows but not without living room windows. Slow cookers are great this time of year for sure, and it usually creates leftovers which come in handy.

    • Debt RoundUp

      Debt RoundUp 07/02/2013 9:35 a.m. #

      Nice tips. Since my wife and I are usually always too hot in the summer, we resorted to getting a window A/C unit to just cool off our room when we sleep. Now we don't run the main unit and just ours and it works great. Our savings covered the cost of the unit in the first summer we used it.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:53 p.m. #

        Sleeping when it is hot is the most difficult thing, I find. Good for you guys for adding a window unit so that you can sleep better.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 07/02/2013 10:22 a.m. #

      Aw...I'm reading along and see my name :)

      It's funny how when I was working I didn't pay attention to all these details and I'm like policing the house now and everyone gets my wrath if a light is left on or filters aren't cleaned ;) LOL.

      The slow cooker is a great idea in fact I might use mine today to make dinner. There's a BBQ'd short rib recipe I haven't tried in a while.

      Thanks for sharing these tips Sicorra! Have a great day my friend and thanks for the mention :). We have to catch up soon!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:55 p.m. #

        I wrote this a while ago but when I saw your post yesterday I had to add it in girl. :-)

        Let's see how much use we can get out of our slow cookers this summer and see if it helps our diet.

        Have a great week Corina :-)

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 07/02/2013 10:34 a.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra. We don't have A/C either. Normally it's fine, but there are always a handful of days that I miss it. It's been hot here too. I like hot - good beach weather, but it doesn't make it very nice to be indoors. Ceiling fans are definitely a huge help and we're eating lots of salads too. :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:58 p.m. #

        I have to say that I am surprised that some people in LA don't have AC. Many times over the past 10 years I have watched weather reports saying that it is in the 80s and 90s there for weeks at a time.
        Like you, I do not mind heat if I am at a beach, but when I am home, or when I use to work downtown, I didn't enjoy getting all dressed up to walk around in hot weather.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 07/02/2013 11:57 a.m. #

      I do all those things! My utility bills are lower than other similar homes. My utility bills point that out to me. We are going through the some of highest temperatures in the country right now. I turn off the A/C as early as I can and use fans. I close it up first thing in the morning.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 9:59 p.m. #

        It is good to have the flexibility to go back and forth between fans and AC as required. Today I do wish we had AC here.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 07/02/2013 12:54 p.m. #

      Good tips Sicorra! We have AC and it's one of those things that I am willing to pay for as I am so warm blooded. We try to grill as much as we can and keep direct sunlight out.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 10 p.m. #

        I use to live in a house with AC as well, and I definitely do miss it. We did pay attention to how much we ran out, but some days it does get too hot.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 07/02/2013 1:21 p.m. #

      I LOVE that pic. You must have been cracking up when you added that....awesome.

      The sad fact is that it's a pretty cool day in Houston (I'm in Austin right now and it's "only" 86 degrees....last week they tell me it was 106).

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 10:03 p.m. #

        I did think the picture was pretty cute. LOL
        You guys get very warm down there. It's 105 in Vegas too. 86 is fine for me if we are just sitting around outside, but when the house is 86 to 90 and the air coming in is hot, I find it a bit much.

    • Pension Retirement

      Pension Retirement 07/02/2013 9:20 p.m. #

      I'm up in the NW part of the country, so anytime it gets more than about 80, it's really too hot for me. We've had a spell of warm weather, and I am so happy that I have a portable air conditioner. It's one of those things where I really don't care what it costs, I would prefer to spend some extra cash to be able to sleep at night. :) Global warming is going to cut into my budget though.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/02/2013 10:04 p.m. #

        I completely agree with you, it is definitely nice to be able to sleep well at night.

    • Angela McCall

      Angela McCall 07/03/2013 6:15 p.m. #

      Hi Sicorra,

      That window reminds me of our window in our bedroom. That's where the A/C located and it's setup just the way it is on that picture. On the summer heat, I also end up taking a shower 1-2 a day. And I keep a cold towel in my office. We don't use central heating or air conditioning. A/C is only in our bedroom, the rest of the house it's only fans.

      Anyway, keep yourself COOL in the summer heat.

      Until later,

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 07/03/2013 8:35 p.m. #

        Thanks for stopping by Angela!

        I know what you mean about 2 showers a day. We needed that yesterday. You are lucky to have AC in your bedroom. We don't even have that and last night was hot in our room even with all the fans running. Today is much nicer though. Keep yourself cool too :-)

    • Louise J. Martin

      Louise J. Martin 07/15/2013 1:55 a.m. #

      This is an excellent source of information to keep the house cool all summer. We don't have an Ac unit but we have a whole house fan to keep us cool this summer. It's been with us for over a year now and it's actually working and cost-efficient. Opening windows also help but we should find ways to block the sun.

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