This post was written by former FHF contributor, Emily Davis.
It’s been hot in North Texas since the beginning of May. We had our first 90 degree day and we haven’t really looked back. We’ve gotten close to 100 a few times and the heat index… sigh, I know I know – it’s too HOT!
When I was a little girl, people didn’t have air-conditioning. I’m serious. It was very hot inside the car and inside homes. I always wore my long hair up in a pony tail because in the car it got blown to death and in the house it stuck to me. GROSS! Parts of my family, who were farmers out in West Texas, near San Antonio did not even have those old Box Air conditioners that my husband calls “window shakers”. The ones who did have them only used them in the bedrooms to be comfy at night. I know I know – I’m old (well, I’m 50).
If you think about it, back in the Pioneer days there wasn’t even electricity. People kept their windows open for a breeze and planted trees for shade and stuck their feet in the creek or something to stay cool. I would have loved to live back then! Sigh… instead — we have popsicles and swimming pools. We still have to use our brains though. Who can afford a huge electric bill? Not me!
Because I live in a hot state and it is expensive to cool a two-story home when the average summer temperature is 100+, I have learned some tricks and wanted to share them with you.
During the summer, we keep the upstairs at 77-78 degrees during the day and 73-74 at night. We also keep the downstairs at around 75 – 76 (unless we have company – it is rude to make company sweat). We do this so our air-conditioner doesn’t run all day and all night. Oh, and here’s a PSA – get your air conditioner serviced yearly. You won’t regret it.
Here are my top ten recommendations for staying cool inside this summer without breaking the bank:
1) Do your cleaning early in the morning.
2) Do your laundry early in the morning. I do not run the washer and dryer in the heat of the day. It uses more energy.
3) Use the short cycle on your dishwasher and don’t use the heated dry cycle. I turn it on as we go to bed for the evening (or first thing in the morning).
4) Put ceiling fans in every room you can. This helps. I turn them on during the day no matter if we are using the room or not – just to keep the air circulated.
5) Prop your garage door and keep a fan on in the garage during the heat of the day, so that our refrigerator out there won’t have to work so hard to stay cool. Even though it is still hot, the air at lease circulates.
6) Turn down our hot water heater because in the summer here, the hot water is plenty – trust me. It takes no time to heat it up. It’s not worth paying extra money to heat up the water in the summer.
7) Cook Outside if Possible. If you have to cook inside, remember this:
- Cook one or two days/week & heat in the microwave.
- Try not to bake in the summer. Instead eat cold fruit and jello with whipped cream or eat ice cream or sorbet/frozen yogurt.
- Use the smallest pot/pan possible, use the cover and use as little water/liquid as possible (because both of those cut down on heating time).
- Do all your prep work before heating the stove or oven.
- Eat Cold dishes – pasta salads, green salads, sandwiches, and cold soups (if you like them).
- Never put hot food in the refrigerator. If you do – your fridge will have to work harder to cool it.
- I try not to can in the summer. Instead, I slice tomatoes for freezing and make fresh sauce from them (things like that).
8) Make sure your windows are sealed properly and that there are no drafts in your home where bugs and hot air can come through – and cold air can come out.
9) Unplug unused electronic devices & small appliances. My lamps upstairs and all our plug in devices do not get charged during the day. They are on the same power strips and I turn them off when I wake up in the morning.
10) Open the blinds (slightly) so that you don’t have to use as many lights. For that matter, I love to light candles instead of every light being on in the evenings.
BONUS TIP – don’t keep the TV/Computer on all day. There are other fun activities to do in the summer, mama!
I know you are all great at saving money. I’m sure you all have energy efficient appliances and you clean out from under them and make sure they are not pushed up against walls so they don’t’ get so hot. I know you know the basics.
I hope and pray you find these tips helpful. And I’d love to hear what your best energy saving tips are.