Reduce electricity use

With the hot weather already here, it can be a big relief to turn on the air conditioning in your home and escape. However, when the utility bills come, you may be surprised by how quickly your costs can rise during the summer. Between summer camp, vacations and homeowners insurance, you have enough expenses to worry about. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can lower your bills and use less energy during the hottest months of the year. Here are a few tips to help you pay less:

Don't crank the A/C
While you want to stay cool, the difference of a few degrees in your heating and cooling can equal hundreds of dollars over time. You can keep these costs down by adjusting your air conditioning so you aren't sweating, but you aren't breaking the bank either. Instead of keeping your home at 70 or 72 degrees all summer, bump it up just a few notches to save money and still feel comfortable indoors.

Keep the fridge full
Believe it or not, your refrigerator can actually hold its temperature better when it is full of items. This means that stocking up can actually help you save money on your electricity bills. Whether you're holding items to throw on the grill or storing sports drinks to stay hydrated through the heat, keep your fridge fuller if possible to lower the amount of effort it uses to stay cool.

Use the grill
One of the advantages to summer is having the ability to spend more time outdoors. To save money on your utility bills, bring your dining experience outside as well. Firing up the grill outside will prevent you from using the oven or stove inside and heating up your home. When that happens, your air conditioning will need to work twice as hard to stabilize the temperature.

Spend time away from home
When you're at your house, you may feel the need to stay cool. However, if you can spend more time in another place that has air conditioning, such as the local library, mall or another public place, you can turn the temperature up a few degrees while you are gone. This practice will help you lower your utility bills during the day.

Hang your laundry outside
When the sun is shining, consider air drying your clothes instead of using the dryer. This will save you tons of money per month in energy bills and will give your sheets a fresh scent from the outdoors.

Use shade
Did you know you can keep your home cooler by using shades, blinds and outdoor foliage? Planting trees near windows of your home can help reduce the sun inside and the heat. If you don't have exterior plants or shrubs, you can still reduce the heat by closing blinds and shades inside.

Use a fan
Compared to central air conditioning, using a small fan to keep cool will utilize significantly less energy and be more cost-effective. If you can avoid sweating with a cool breeze, consider switching on fans instead of the air conditioner.

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