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7 home hacks for saving money at home this spring and summer

Posted by AMH Team

5m read time

Apr 30, 2024

Spring and summer represent new beginnings. We’re saying goodbye to the dreary days of winter and welcoming fresh flowers, chirping birds, and inviting weather.


Unfortunately, this time of year also brings potential increases in your bills. Your HVAC system, washing machine, and other larger appliances often work harder in the spring and summer. If you’re not careful, you could experience sticker shock when the energy bill arrives.


The good news is that there are several home hacks to save money while still staying comfortable as the weather gets warmer. Our home maintenance tips will keep you in good shape, both now and all year round.


Here’s a bonus tip: If any of your home maintenance chores feel too cumbersome, throw on an interior design podcast. That time will fly by! 


Turn up the heat


Using a thermostat seems straightforward. Set the temperature higher in the winter and keep it cooler in the summer. Yet that’s a good way to rack up higher energy costs.


Instead, turn your thermostat up a few degrees. An air conditioner’s primary goal is to reduce the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the house. When it’s 90 degrees outdoors, and you’re blasting the AC at 60 degrees, the cooling system has to expend a lot of energy to keep up.     


If you typically run hot, try bumping the thermostat up by one degree. The change will likely be negligible to you but could shave dollars off your bill


When your cooling and heating systems have to do less work, they’ll last longer and require fewer maintenance repairs.


Program your thermostat


Let’s say your preferred temperature at home is 70 degrees. In the morning, set the thermostat to drop to 68 or 69 degrees. Around 2 p.m., have the thermostat move up 3 to 5 degrees from your preferred temperature — in this case, that means programming it for between 73 and 75. As nightfall hits (around 8 p.m.), set it back to your ideal 70 degrees. 


Energy usage tends to spike in the afternoon and evening. While it varies by location, you’ll likely spend more on energy between 2 or 3 p.m. and 8 or 9 p.m. because there’s a greater demand for it. By keeping the thermostat higher during those timeframes, your cooling system won’t have to work as hard, saving energy and money.


Take your fans for a spin


Fans only use a fraction of the energy that an air conditioner does. They work well in tandem with your AC unit by circulating cool air within the room, lessening the unit’s workload.


Make sure your fan is spinning in the proper direction to maximize its effectiveness. In the summer, you want it to go counterclockwise (right to left) to create a downdraft. Your fan will likely have a switch on the fan body or light fixture or can be adjusted with a remote.


Leaving a fan on while you’re not home won’t put a huge dent in your energy bill, but fans are only effective for people. There’s not much benefit to keeping them running to try and cool an empty room.


Strategically open the windows


We’re not saying you need to abandon your air conditioner entirely and grab a bag of frozen peas.


However, opening a window, especially when there’s a breeze outside, can be a wise alternative to cranking up the AC. Plus, you’ll hear the sounds of nature, which is a soothing background.


Remember to open the windows only if your air conditioner isn’t on. Otherwise, you’re simply pushing the cool air outside.


Replace your air filters


Have you ever looked at your air filter and audibly gasped? That’s likely a sign that it’s been too long since the last replacement. On average, you should replace your air filter every three months. If you have pets, changes can be even more frequent.


Luckily, replacing air filters in house vents is simple and brings multiple benefits. Fresh air filters provide cleaner air for you to breathe, and they help capture smaller particles in the air, giving your HVAC system more longevity while saving energy.


Add air filters to your home maintenance reminders checklist. When a new quarter starts, replace the filters. Your lungs — and your AC — will appreciate the freshness.


Wash laundry in cold water


No matter how intense the weather gets outside, you’ll still have to do laundry. What you can control is how you use your washing machine. Nearly 90% of the energy during a load of laundry goes toward heating the water.


The simple solution is to wash your clothes in cold water. Many garments even recommend this. Washing a shirt with cold-wash instructions in hot water can shrink or otherwise damage the clothing. Washing your washing machine is another way to prolong its longevity and eliminate bacteria, reducing the energy your machine exerts. 


Take things even further by air-drying your clothes on hangers or a portable clothes rack, which can save on dryer energy costs. Some clothes dried on a rack feel stiffer; tossing them into the dryer for five minutes using a fluff or low-heat setting will get them back in tip-top shape.      


Prep your bedroom to stay cool at night


Another good time to crack a window? When you’re getting ready for bed. Particularly in dry-heat areas, such as the West and Southwest, the evening air does a great job of cooling the bedroom.


Try a couple of old-fashioned tricks to stay cool. Drinking something warm regulates your body temperature. Caffeine-free chamomile or valerian root tea or even a warm glass of milk may help cool you off before bed. If you find yourself tossing and turning because you’re overheated, fill a spray bottle with water and mist your sheets and pillow to create a pleasantly airy sleeping experience.


Interested in more home maintenance tips? Check out our latest advice on the AMH blog.     


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