Hot weather doesn't have to mean a big bill. Stay cool for less with our tips to save energy in hot weather.

When the hot summer sun heats your home, you can keep cool without energy costs rising as high as the heat index. And, since heating and cooling account for more than half of your overall energy bill, these money saving tips can help lower your electric bill.

General hot weather tips

  • Wait until later in the evening to use heat-producing appliances, like the oven, clothes dryer and dishwasher. Many dryers and dishwashers have timers you can set so they turn on hours later.
  • Shade south and west-facing windows during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you use a window air conditioner, make sure it’s the appropriate size and sealed properly.

Ceilings, attic and whole-house fans

  • Run ceiling fans counter-clockwise during hot months. While standing directly under a ceiling fan, you should feel a cool breeze.
  • When using a ceiling fan, you can raise the thermostat setting a few degrees and still be comfortable.
  • Turn off ceiling fans in unoccupied rooms. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.
  • Use or install an attic or whole-house fan for cooling air circulation in hot months. In many climates, these can be an inexpensive alternative to air conditioning.
  • Make sure your attic is properly ventilated to remove hot air.

Cooling system

  • Upgrade your old system to a new, efficient model. A new system can save you $150 or more a year in energy costs.
  • Install a programmable or Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. Proper use can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
  • If you don’t have a programmable or Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, set your thermostat to a temperature that is as high as you can tolerate. The recommended setting is 78° or higher when you are home and higher when you are asleep or away. Here's a  graphic to help guide your thermostat settings in the summer. Remember, the more you turn it up, the more you'll save!

Don't set the thermostat lower than you actually want it, even if you're trying to cool your home quickly. It won't cool your home any faster, and it runs your system longer than necessary.

Have your system inspected regularly. An annual tune-up helps your system run more efficiently. Plus, loose or inefficient duct work can mean much of what you spend to cool your home is actually cooling the outdoors.

  • Change or clean your filter once a month. Dust and dirt make your unit work harder.
  • Vacuum registers and vents regularly.
  • Don't let furniture and draperies block cooling airflow.