Don’t work alone
Team up your air conditioner with a ceiling fan to spread cool air throughout the room. Using both at the same time lets you raise the air conditioner temperature by five degrees, which in turn lowers your cooling costs. You'll also want to make sure your fan is moving clockwise and pushing the cold air down. Here are sneaky ways to save on every household bill.
Stick with the program
Install a programmable thermostat for your air conditioner and cut down on your utility bill. Set it for several degrees warmer at night or when no one is home; you can save up to 10 percent on your cooling costs for every degree above 78 you raise the thermostat.
Don’t light up your thermostat
Keep heat-generating appliances like lamps, computers, and televisions away from your air-conditioning thermostat. Their heat will trick the air conditioner into running longer.
Keep the area clear
Make sure your air-conditioning vents are not blocked by furniture or other obstructions. You don’t want to pay to cool the back of your couch! If a window unit has curtains or shades, keep them open. This is how to dress up an unsightly window (and hide an AC unit that's not in use).
Seal the leaks
Save on cooling costs by keeping the cool air you’ve paid for in your house. Seal or caulk dryer vents, pipes entering the house, and electrical outlets as well as drafty windows and doors. You’ll keep warm air inside in the winter, too.
Shoot for the sky
Aim the vents for your room air conditioner at the ceiling, and let the cool air float down to you. You’ll get more bang for you cooling buck by cooling the room from top to bottom, rather than in just one spot, plus you’ll have better air circulation as the cold air drifts down.
Clean the filter
Allowing too much gunk to pile up will increase the amount of energy your unit uses to get your room to a comfortable temperature. Pop the filter out and wipe it down with a washcloth at least once a month.
Get more smart saving tips
The book Reader's Digest Quintessential Guide to Saving Money offers dozens of tricks to cut household bills, find unexpected sales and freebies, make the most of your health care, and more. Learn more and buy the book here.