During the summer months, it’s easy to watch your energy bill spike in sync with temperature increases.

There are several free and simple things you can adjust inside your home to beat the heat and save on energy costs. Some of our tips require daily action and others only need a one-time adjustment for summer-long savings.

  • Be efficient with your thermostat

For optimal savings, set your thermostat at 78 and don’t lower it. The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the smaller the energy bill you’ll have at the end of the month. If you have a programmable thermostat, take the time to read the user manual and schedule the temperature to be warmer while you’re away during work hours and cooler when you come home. Programming your thermostat can save up to 10 percent per year on your heating and cooling bills.

  • Keep your air conditioner well-maintained

It’s important to keep tabs on your air conditioner’s filter. If it’s packed with dirt and dust, your air conditioner won’t run efficiently and will end up costing you more. The average home without pets needs a new air filter every 90 days. If you have a cat or dog, or if someone in your home has allergies, you need to change it every 30-60 days. Make sure to vacuum air registers regularly as well so airflow isn’t being blocked but dirt and dust.

Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

  • Use fans to your advantage

Ceiling fans allow you to raise the thermostat setting nearly 4 degrees without a change in comfort! That can mean big savings on your energy bill. Proper ventilation creates what’s called a “wind chill effect.” This only works when you’re in the room to feel it, so be sure to turn the fans off when you leave.

When you take a shower or bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home.

  • Avoid using appliances during the day

During hot summer days, avoid using the oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer. Appliances that generate a lot of heat will create hot air inside your home and force your air conditioner to work harder to keep the air cool—unnecessarily increasing your energy bill. Save chores that require appliances for the early mornings or cool evenings so you aren’t competing with the air conditioner. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Better yet, consider air drying dishes and clothes instead to save even more.

  • Insulate your home

Make sure when the air conditioning is on, all windows and doors are properly sealed shut to prevent warm air from leaking into your home and cool air from leaking out. Adding weatherstripping to leaky doors and windows is a smart move to keep your home cool and your energy bill low. It’s also smart to shade as much of the west and south sides of your home as possible. As long as you are a homeowner or have permission from your landlord, planting shady trees in a strategic pattern outside your home can shade your house from the sun and save lots of money in the long-term.

Big Savings

Small efforts like these will lead to big savings in the future. When you save money on bills, you will have leftover savings to put towards more important things. Be mindful of your energy costs this summer, and you will be closer to achieving your long-term goals!

Bridge to Wellbeing is on a mission to help people like you harness opportunity and achieve the American Dream. For more advice on how to achieve your dream, check our weekly blog updates or find a Bridge to Wellbeing event near you!