Back to Back Issues Page
The CLEAN-zine, Issue #003 -- Chilling Out on Summer Air-Conditioning Bills
July 01, 2009

10 Ways to Chill Out on Your Air-Conditioning Bill This Summer

Just when you think it can't get any hotter, it does. Lucky you. You've got air-conditioning. 

Lucky you. You've got AC bills.

This is your last-ditch chance to save a little cold cash during the hottest month of the year. Here's how to make the most of it.

10 Ways to Lower Your Summer Energy Bill

1 Keep the air on during the day - and off at night. Open the windows to take advantage of night's naturally cooler air.

2 Turn the thermostat up to 75 degrees. Suffer a little now, reap the monetary rewards next month.

3 Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Light=heat=harder-working AC. 'Nuff said.

4 Use fans in upstairs areas. You'll save money here by helping your chilled air circulate by adding a few fans to your home's hottest rooms and areas.

5 Shut out the sun. Close curtains and blinds during the day in rooms that aren't being used.

6 Think white - and awnings. White shades reflect light and heat better than darker ones. Awnings help, too.

7 Tighten up more than your wallet. Check and re-caulk your home's doors and windows to keep hot air from seeping in. Make sure your home is well-insulated.

8 Maximize the microwave. Use your microwave whenever possible instead of heating up the whole house with the oven.

9 Replace filters. Change your AC filter every three months.

10 Turn off the TV. It generates heat, too. (Sorry, kids!)

For more ways to save, see Beyond Air-Conditioning: 3 More Ways to Slash Your Energy Bills this Summer.

July Home Checklist

Some tasks only need to be done once or twice a year. The problem is that we forget to do them once or twice a year.

Or else, we tend to save it all for spring cleaning which makes spring cleaning such a daunting chore that it doesn’t occur, either.

Here are the 10 Home Maintenance & Care Items on my July Checklist:

1 Hold a garage sale: The best way to entice your out-of-school youngsters to help clean the garage is to promise them a garage sale. They can sell anything they don’t want to keep. And they can spend the proceeds anyway they like. If you’re really nice, you can let them split up your profits, too.

2 So long, Buzz: This is a perfect time to clean out toy boxes and closets. Garage sales provide a great decluttering incentive.

3 Reorganize the survivors: Help the kids organize remaining toys into sensible categories. Put all the Lego stuff together in one bin; all the American Girl dolls and accessories in another. Board games get a special place, too. Now when the kids want to play, they only need to haul out one box.

4 Mirror, mirror on the wall… Clean mirrors, prints, artwork, photographs, shelves … anything that hangs on the wall. (Get glass and mirror cleaning tips here.)

5 De fur the furniture: Does Puff always plop on the chenille sofa? Yeah, we could tell. Remove excess fluff with a damp sponge. (See cleaning pet messes and more for specific pet-cleaning tips around the home.)

6 Getting in on the ground floor: Enlist your youngest to clean the baseboards throughout the house. Just stick a white sock on her hand and send her on her way. She is the closest to the floor, after all.

7 Baby, it’s light outside: Clean outdoor light fixtures. Replace dim bulbs.

8 Sanitize pet areas: How long has it been since you took a little Clorox to the hamster’s cage? Team up with the kids and help them clean pet cages, beds, bedding, dishes, litter boxes, etc. Your house should look cleaner and smell better, too.

9 Save your energy: Summer air conditioning puts additional strain on our energy bill so try to save power in other areas. Vacuum under and behind the refrigerator to make it run more efficiently. Set the water heater at 120 F. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Remind the kids to keep the doors closed.

10 How old are those olives? Clean the fridge and get rid of old condiments, dressings, etc. Nothing lasts forever – not even mustard. Really. (Confused by the `Use By’, ‘Sell By’ and other stamps on your foodstuffs? Here's a guide to

deciphering food expiration labels.

Have a fabulous 4th of July - and beyond!

Tara Aronson

Back to Back Issues Page