In the summertime, keeping your house comfortable can be costly. Air conditioning accounts for around 12% of a home’s annual energy usage. That figure doesn’t include supplemental fans and dehumidifiers, meaning that you could be spending a lot more to keep your home cool. Fortunately, it is possible to stay comfortable without breaking the bank. Here are five easy ways to reduce summer cooling costs.

1. Set a Higher Temperature

Your cooling system doesn’t need to run 24/7. It’s expensive and will wear the components out more quickly. To save money, turn the temperature up when you’re not home. Install a smart thermostat that you can program and control with your smartphone. This helps reduce cooling costs because you can control the temperature even when you’re away from home.

In the summer, it’s cooler in the morning, so wait a while before turning on the AC. Use fans to circulate the air and create a wind-chill effect. The temperature will also drop in the evening. Turn the AC off and sleep with the windows open and/or fans to help you feel cooler.

If you must sleep with your system running, turn up the temperature a few degrees before you go to bed. Most people won’t notice a difference of a degree or two and you’ll save 3 – 6% on the power bill for every degree you adjust your thermostat.

2. Use Curtains to Reduce Cooling Costs

When you leave your curtains open during the heat of the day, the sun warms your home and the AC will work harder to keep it cool. Close the curtains when the sun is shining directly into the house. Curtains on the east side of your house will block sunlight in the morning while the curtains on the west side will block out the sun in the evening hours.

3. Don’t Cook During the Day

The heat from your stovetop or oven affects the temperature in the home. As the house heats up, your cooling system will kick on to maintain a comfortable temperature. Try to cook earlier or later in the day and make cool meals like salads and sandwiches when possible. You can also use a grill or a smoker to prepare food outside instead of heating up the kitchen.

4. Reduce Summer Cooling Costs with Regular Maintenance

Just like any other appliance, your cooling system needs regular cleaning and maintenance. A poorly maintained machine is less efficient and causes higher energy bills. If you neglect it long enough, it may break down and you’ll be facing expensive repairs or replacing the system. To reduce summer cooling costs, follow the recommendations in the system’s manual and contact your local HVAC technician.

5. Light Bulbs

Traditional incandescent and CFL bulbs get very hot when they’re in use. Along with generating heat, light bulbs also consume energy, so make a point to turn the lights off when you leave a room. LED lights consume less energy and are much cooler than other bulbs. Exchange incandescent and CFL bulbs for more efficient LED light bulbs when it’s time for a replacement and you’ll save money on your electrical bill all year long.

Homesmith Home Inspections provides inspection services to the Houston, Texas area. Contact us to request an appointment.