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How to save on cooling costs

By Paula Pant · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

Summer is in full swing, and that means your air conditioning unit may be running daily. Unfortunately, that's bad for both the environment and your wallet.

Here are some simple tips to cut back on your use of air conditioning.

Adjust the dial slowly

Do not try to reset your thermostat 10 degrees higher in one fell swoop. Instead, adjust the thermostat slowly, moving the dial 1 degree each week.

If you normally keep your thermostat at 70 degrees, for example, move it to 71 degrees this week, 72 degrees the next, 73 degrees the week after, and so forth. This will give your body time to adapt.

Drink more water

Stay hydrated. Your body's ability to cope with hot weather depends, in part, on how much water you consume.

Take preventative action by constantly drinking water, which will allow you to feel comfortable at hotter temperatures. If you reach the point at which you feel thirsty, you already are dehydrated.

Use a programmable thermostat

Install a programmable thermostat in your home. This costs a little more upfront, but it allows you to save on energy costs by not running the thermostat during the time of day when nobody's home.

For example, if everyone in your household goes to work during normal business hours, program your thermostat to automatically climb 10 degrees higher than normal while people are away, and to start cooling the house one hour before they return.

You can also program the thermostat to climb a little higher at night, after everyone's asleep.

Check your attic insulation and ventilation

A poorly insulated, poorly ventilated attic will force your air conditioner to work overtime. Hot air rises and gets trapped in the attic, which in turn heats the house.

Ask a roofing expert if your attic's ventilation is appropriate for your regional climate. Also, invest a few hundred dollars into maintaining good levels of insulation, which is beneficial in both summer and winter.

Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about building wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns six rental units that produce thousands in passive income, and runs her own digital marketing company. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.

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