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Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Budget-friendly Ways To Keep the House Cool When It's Hot

Mary Hunt on

Have you figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere? If you could use some help in that regard, here are some tips, tricks and great ideas that will help you stay cool without burning a hole in the budget.

CEILING FANS

Use ceiling fans liberally. It costs less than $5 a month to run a high-efficiency ceiling fan at high speed for 12 hours a day (assuming a cost of 14.2 cents per kWh, the U.S. average), according to the Energy Use Calculator at bls.gov. Your home will feel about 7 degrees cooler simply because the air is circulating effectively. And that means your air conditioner will not have to work as hard to keep things comfortable.

AVOID USING THE OVEN

During the hot summer months, it's wise to come up with meals and preparations that won't require using the oven. Instead, consider your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Opt for more salads. Make salad as the entree. Since it's already hot, firing up the grill isn't a problem.

WHOLE HOUSE FAN

 

A whole house fan (not to be confused with an attic fan) is installed in the attic and designed to ventilate the house whenever the outdoor air is cooler, typically after the sun sets, making it possible to turn the air conditioner off at night.

For a seasoned and experienced homeowner, installing a whole house fan is typically a do-it-yourself project. However, for a professional, it's a quick and easy job. Learn more at the U.S. Department of Energy website at https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/home-cooling-systems/cooling-whole-house-fan.

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

You can install this small, relatively inexpensive device yourself. It will more than pay for itself in a single summer. Now you won't have to keep remembering to turn the setting up or down depending on whether you are home. Simply program it to fit your lifestyle and you won't waste money cooling the house when no one is home.

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