5 Money Saving Tips for Reducing Your Summer Cooling Costs

Jun 5, 2023

Summer is back once again, bringing with it warmer weather and opening up opportunities for some fun in the sun. While summer is great for outdoor adventures, it can lead to some very expensive energy bills trying to keep your home cool. The Energy Information Administration estimates the average monthly electricity bill in the U.S. this summer to be $176, up 2.2% from 2022. Here are some tips to help effectively cool your home and save on energy costs this summer.

Home Energy Audit

An important first step when considering how to lower your energy costs is to have a home energy audit conducted. These audits are conducted by professionals that look for inefficiencies in your home that could be leading to increased utility bills. They are also able to provide advice specific to your home on how to save money moving forward.

In Philadelphia, there are a number of organizations that offer programs for those under a certain income threshold to help make energy costs more affordable. For those eligible for their services, The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) coordinates low-income energy services, and administers high-quality energy conservation, education, heating, and home repair services to reduce households' energy costs and stabilize families in their communities. The ECA has 15 Neighborhood Energy Centers across the Philadelphia region that operate as a one-stop-shop for low-income energy services, including weatherization, heating system repair and replacement, home repair, bill repayment assistance, budget counseling, and home energy education.

The U.S Department of Energy also offers a Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The WAP reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. Through these weatherization upgrades and improvements, households that apply save an average of $372 a year on energy costs.

You can also reach out to your energy utility provider, which in many cases will provide a variety of services and products at a discount, or even for free. Often, providers will help you set up an energy audit. If you have one of the popular Philadelphia area energy providers and are eligible, check out ways you can save

Smart Thermostat

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency has shown that smart thermostats meeting Energy Star's criteria save users an average of 8 percent on their utility bills. This happens because smart thermostats will turn your air conditioning off more often than regular thermostats.

A smart thermostat can track your phone so when you are not home, it knows that it can go into energy-saving mode. You can also program these thermostats to be at a higher temperature throughout the night or while you're away during the day, so you aren't wasting energy when it is not needed. By setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from your normal setting for eight hours a day, you can save up to 10% a year on energy costs.

Change/Clean Your Air Filter

A simple step that can be a big help is changing your air filter. Older filters that are dirty and clogged restrict airflow, making your air conditioner work harder to cool your home. You should be cleaning or replacing your air conditioning system's filter every month or two during the summer months. The more you use it, the more often it will need to be addressed. By replacing a dirty filter with a clean one, your air conditioner's usage can be reduced by up to 15%.

Close Your Blinds

While during the winter it's beneficial to open up your blinds and let the sun in, that is not the case during the summer. According to the Department of Energy, about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat. Closing the blinds during the day can help keep out the extra warmth the sun brings with it. Investing in blackout curtains or window screens can help block out the sun more and help decrease the work your air conditioning will need to do.

Seal the Cracks

Any cracks or leaks around window frames or doors will let out precious cool air your air conditioner is producing. Examine areas of your home where there may be drafts and look to seal them with caulk or other weather-stripping materials.

Dealing with the heat throughout the summer can be difficult. However, by using these tips you can help yourself stay cool while reducing its impact on your bank account.

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis
Community Relations Specialist and Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
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