Financial IQ

Beat the Heat with Cool Money-Saving Tips

Last month’s average temperatures nationwide were the second highest ever recorded, and July is showing no signs of relief. The hot weather paired with many large utilities already raising customer rates means that Minters could see their highest utility bills ever this year.

Luckily, there are steps you can take now to reduce the cost of cooling your home. So sit back, pour yourself a cold drink and take advantage of these tips to keep your utility bill from heating up.

Replace Your Air Filters

You should be replacing your air filters once a month, especially during the summer. Dirty filters restrict airflow, which means the air conditioner runs longer and uses more energy. Replacing a clogged filter will reduce your energy consumption by up to 15%! Buy several filters at once and create a recurring calendar reminder on your phone.

Cool Down Your Bed, Not The Room

Feeling hot when you try to fall asleep is uncomfortable at best, but running the air conditioning all night is the quickest way to a steep energy bill. Instead of turning down the temperature on your thermostat, consider purchasing a bed fan or cooling mat. Bed fans are special bed-height units that send cool air between your bed sheets, using much less energy than central air or a wall unit. Cooling mats use no energy at all! Just pop it in the refrigerator during the day, and place in your bed when you’re ready to turn in for the night.

Consider a Smart Thermostat

Your thermostat controls half of your energy bill, so any cost savings strategy deserves a long look at that tiny box on your wall. Thermostat innovator Nest reports that a correctly programmed thermostat – ones that make adjustments based on your activity – can save about 20% on your heating and cooling bill. In fact, average annual savings with the Nest Learning Thermostat is $173/year – with units costing around $250, you’ll see a return on your investment in your second year.

You can use Nest’s online tool to calculate how much money you can save based on your location, home size and system specifications. Even if you don’t have a smart thermostat, don’t forget: adjusting your temperature just one degree can cut your energy use up to 5%.

Get an Estimate for Radiant Barriers

If you live in a region with prolonged hot temperatures, updating your home’s insulation is a great option for reducing cooling costs for good. Radiant barriers – also known as reflective insulation – reflect heat away from the home.

Heat travels in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Traditional insulation materials slow conductive and convective heat flow, but do not account for radiant heat that travels through your roof and into your house. Radiant barriers are easiest to install in new construction, but can be installed in your existing house, especially if it has an open attic. Studies show that radiant barriers can reduce cooling costs 5% to 10% when used in a warm, sunny climate.

What are some tips and tricks you use to keep things cool around your house? Share with us in the Comments or on Twitter with #MyMintTips.