Ten Ways To Save Money On Your Electric Bill This Summer

by Hank Coleman

This past winter, I wrote about how you to save money on your electric bill this winter. But, now it is time to look at how to save money on your electric bill this summer. Come to find out, saving money in the summer is very similar to saving money on your electric bill in the winter as well.

Saving money in the summer all comes down to keeping your cold air inside the house and not cooling down the entire neighborhood and also reducing the amount of air conditioning and electricity you are using in general. I routinely see my electric bill almost double during the summer after turning on my home’s air conditioning.

There are several inexpensive and simple ways that you can lower your cost of electricity, lower your air conditioning costs, and save on your electric bill this summer. Here are several easy and simple ways to keep the AC in your home and money in your wallet this summer while you save on your electric bill.

1. Get Your Air Conditioner Tuned Up

Get your HVAC tuned up to save moneyFor as little as $100, you can get your HVAC unit tuned up by a certified technician and checked to make sure that it is operating efficiently. My wife and I recently had someone come out to our home and tune up our HVAC unit before we became landlords to ensure that everything was operating perfectly for our new tenants. It was money well spent. It is just like getting a tune up for your car, and you will quickly recoup your $100 in energy savings.

2. Close Your Blinds!

I had no idea how much of a difference blinds and drapes actually made on keeping your cold air inside your home. I always thought that they were more decoration than anything useful, especially drapes. But, your rooms can get hotter without blinds or curtains to block out the sunlight.

This of course can make your air conditioner start and work harder than it would have otherwise needed to. You can also plant trees and large bushes in front of windows that receive direct sun light as well in order to cut down on the amount of light the shines directly inside your home, warming it up.

3. Free Home Energy Audits

Many electricity companies offer home energy audits that can help you locate where some of your air is escaping your house and raising your electricity bill by having your air conditioner work hard. Some electricity companies offer an online version of the audit as well.

Other electric company even come out to conduct a comprehensive in-home energy audit. If you make big energy savings upgrades to your home, many states offer incentives for those improvements that can save you almost 75% or more of the upgrades.

4. Replace Your Most Used Light Bulbs With CFLs

This is a simple tip that you constantly hear from frugality experts. But, replacing even just the light bulbs of your two or three most used lights in your house with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and help you to see a drop in your electric bill by $40 per light bulb over the course of its lifetime.

CFLs use 75% less power than a standard light bulb and last up to six times longer too. While these bulbs are expensive, you don’t have to replace all the bulbs in your house. For example, when was the last time you turned on the lights in your formal living room? You can save on your electric bill by adding these innovative lights.

5. Purchase An Programmable Thermostat

Have you ever wondered why you keep your house like an iceberg while you are at work or while you are on vacation? If you had an automatic programmable thermostat installed in your home, you could set it to turn off your air conditioner while you are at work and then to decrease the temperature right before you get home from work everyday in this summer.

6. Don’t Forget Routine Maintenance

Don’t forget the easy things like replacing the air filters in your home’s air conditioning unit. Those big square filters need to be changed regularly. If you are like me, you have probably forgotten about those things and rarely replace them.

I can remember opening the filter’s door on my ceiling and having dust rain down on me. Don’t let it go that long before you replace your AC’s filters. Most experts recommend that you replace your air conditioner’s filters every month in order to get the most energy efficiency out of your system.

7. Use More Fans

While it may seem a little counter productive to use an electric fan in order to lower your electricity bill, it may be a better alternative to use fans instead of running your air conditioner unit. The cost of using several fans can be far less than continuing to use your HVAC unit to cool your house.

My wife is a big proponent of using fans, the AC turned off, and keeping the windows open as much as possible. Some people have also turned to using a whole house fan to help them cool their homes instead of using a central air conditioner.

8. Plug Up All Your Drafts

Drafts are one of the biggest problems that homeowners and renters alike must combat in order to keep the cold air inside. One of the biggest places that you lose the battle of cold air escaping from your home is where you enter your attic. Those little doors and drop down stairs are horrible energy wasters. One of the best ways that you can save on your electric bill and fix the problem is by installing an attic tent that securely fits over the hatch. You can zip and unzip it to enter your attic when needed.

Cracks under your doors are another place you lose cold air. If you can slip a sheet of paper under your door frame or between the frame and the door itself, then the gap is too wide. Installing door sweeps and weather stripping that can block the draft and keep your cool air inside.

You may also find drafts in your duct work and even next to the dryer vent that goes out of the wall to the backyard. A cheap $5 collar around the opening and the pipe was an easy fix to block the cool air of the house from escaping.

9. Cook More Meals Outside

You can save money on your electric bill by cooking more meals outside on your grill. This is especially true if you have an electric stove top. You can do such a wide variety of cooking on your grill nowadays. Using your stove can raise the temperature inside your home, subsequently increasing your air conditioner usage, and increasing your electric bill.

10. Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature

According to the financial services company, USAA, and the Department of Energy, many citizens have their hot water heaters turned up too high. While having it set to 140 degrees may seem nice while you are in the shower, most households are just fine with 120 degree water temperature and will not notice much of a difference. You can see a difference in your electric bill though.

According to USAA, for each 10-degree reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3% and 5% on your electric bill. Installing a tankless water heater can find you savings of almost 34% or more. Save an average of $450 when you switch to USAA Auto Insurance.

Honorable Mention – Smooth Out Your Monthly Electric Bill

Most electricity companies allow you to smooth out your electric bill after twelve months. It will help you budget your money better because each monthly payment will be the same. Some months you will pay more than the electricity that you are actually using, but in the summer and winter months when your usage is high, you will still be paying the same amount for your electricity. It is well worth investigating this option.

Did I miss any? What’s your favorite way to save money on electricity either in the summer or even all year around? Let me know in the comment section below.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 522 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Modest Money

Good tips Hank. The one extra tip I would add is unplugging appliances when not in use. People assume that anything plugged in is only using electricity when in use. Unfortunately most of those devices are constantly using some electricity while plugged in.
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Sean @ One Smart Dollar

Great tips. I agree with Jeremy, If there is something I don’t use I try and have it unplugged. We have a wine fridge and I only keep it plugged in when we are going to be drinking wine that night.
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krantcents

I keep the temperature higher (78 degrees) when we are not home in the summer and lower (65 degrees) in the winter.
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tinafreysd

Buy ceiling fans, especially for stuffy or poorly ventilated rooms. Fans make the room feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They are very low-cost to own and operate.
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Kasi

Tip #2 is so true! I live in Maine so we don’t have air conditioning but on those summer days where it’s going to be over 85, I close all the windows that I opened the night before and pull the shades and curtains to try to block the sunlight and keep the extra heat out. It really does make a difference.

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Zach @ Dividend Stocks Online

These are all great tips. I need to get a tune up asap. Plus nothing heats up my house more than when the oven is on during the summer.
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Jai Catalano

Excellent. I bought a digital thermostat and it’s paid off by regulating the system. I am very proud of the savings.
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John @ Married (with Debt)

I can second the level-billing. It really helped us a lot when we were digging out of debt to know what our bill would be the next month. Now if I can only convince my wife that 75 degrees is perfectly comfortable!
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Elizabeth @ Simple Finance

My dad purchased an attic tent (and an attic fan) last spring, and he swears it paid for itself that first (hot) summer. We do a lot of outdoor cooking in the summer, and I never considered it a money-saving tactic. Now my husband is going to insist on grilling out every night, with due justification :)
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Paul @ The Frugal Toad

Here in Arizona A/C is by far the biggest user of electricity. In addition to using a programmable thermostat we have sun screens and window shades. Planting shade trees outside sunny windows help to block the light as well.
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Brent Pittman

Great tips, we just left west L.A. to ‘The Valley’, so I know we’ll be using this tips.
One thing I used to do during the heat of the day was to leave the house and go to a mall or coffee shop and mooch off their AC for a few hours.
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Processing Gateway

Wonderful tips Hank. Only one item I was looking for- that is unplugging stuffs that are not in use. A careful analysis by Jaymi Heimbuch from howstuffswork.com showed that you can actually save more than $250 a year by this practice.

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tonychucks

An air conditioner clogged with debris from a dirty air filter won’t operate efficiently. Your unit will need to work harder to produce less cooling, an unpleasant situation for your wallet. When you change the air filters on a regular basis, you’ll notice that your unit cools your home faster, which reduces the amount of time it has to run. Over time, an air conditioner that doesn’t have to work as hard will last longer with fewer repairs, too.

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Jessie

I keep my A/C on during summer, so my electric bill is high. but with the help of this article I start my save money during summer operation.. and hoping it work out… I’m excited to see my electric bill at the end of this month..

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