Does this Summer Seem “Extra Hot” to You?
Summer bills are always higher because of the heat, but it really seems to me that this year is worse than usual. I have friends all over the country that have complained about the crazy heat lately.
Nothing We Can Do About It, Right?
Well, we certainly can’t control the weather. However, there are plenty of things that will help you keep your cool, and even save you money! I’ll share some tips I have learned over the years that will make you feel cooler, stay safer, and save on your utility bills.
Keep Your Cool
Have you ever wondered why the word “heated” is applied to an angry conversation? Your body temperature actually rises when you’re angry, so learning to avoid anger will keep you cooler. It’s trickier in summer since heat also affects emotions. I feel cranky when it’s hot out and I suspect most people do. So, the first trick is to stay calm.
The second trick is to stay hydrated so your body can regulate its temperature through sweat. Any liquid will help hydration, but alcohol and caffeine will also cause dehydration, so avoid them. Keeping hydrated is easiest with good old water and don’t wait till you feel thirsty to drink it. By the time you are thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated. Make an effort to drink a large glass of water an hour if you are indoors, and if you are outdoors at least double that amount. If you don’t like plain water, try adding a squirt of lemon or lime juice.
Another trick is to wear light-colored clothing and keep covered up. Living at the coast I learned my fishing friends often wear long-sleeved shirts to protect them from heat and sunburn. Shirts specifically made for this purpose are lightweight and will have built-in sun protection. You should still use sunscreen on exposed skin to avoid sunburn. Think about how uncomfortable you feel when sunburned, your skin radiates heat. Avoiding that will help you to stay cool.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a little information about heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Both are dangerous, but heatstroke is emergency level dangerous! Here is a detailed explanation from the National Weather Service, but the easiest symptom to track is sweating. If you stop sweating, it’s time to worry!
Save on Utility Bills
I have written before about saving electricity in the summer, and I have a few more tips. Use a programmable thermostat, in fact, if you get one that is internet-enabled, you can even adjust it when you aren’t home. So, if you forget to turn up the thermostat when you leave, you can use your smartphone to adjust it remotely.
There is so much information about sleeping better in a cool room, apparently, 65-67F is ideal. I know that seems crazy low, but with a programmable thermostat, you can set it to start warming up before your alarm goes off in the morning. Many electric companies have discounted rates at night, so it might not cost as much as you think. Another way to keep cool at night is to make sure you have natural fiber sheets and nightwear; linen and cotton are ideal. Both are very breathable fabrics and will wick moisture away from you.
Now, back to saving electricity and water. There are some surprising things that use electricity even when you aren’t actively using them like your TV, cable/internet boxes, and your smart home devices. If possible, try to find power strips you can shut off to cut power to some of these items. It just takes a few seconds to click a switch off and it’s worth it to save a bit of money.
An easy way to save water is to make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it. If it has a sensor to choose the right cycle for the soil level, you will save electricity, too. While a level payment plan (or rolling average) doesn’t actually save electricity, it does make your bill easier to budget for. I currently have a rolling average plan and I love that I haven’t had a huge seasonal spike like I’ve had in the past. Check with your provider to see if it’s available in your area!
A suburban lawn is a water sponge, so if you are able to reduce your grass coverage, it’s a great water-saving plan. For flower beds and the base of trees, a layer of mulch will help keep moisture in and reduce the need for water. I recently moved into a house with a sprinkler system and I took a bit of time to research the right settings for my area. I’m confident I have a good balance between water conservation and maintaining my pretty yard. Rain collection barrels are fantastic for watering plants and outdoor containers. Often, utility companies or local gardening groups will sell them at a group rate once a year. Make sure they are covered to prevent mosquito issues!
We can’t do these things for you, but our tips and tricks can help reduce your monthly bills. Our blog has tons of money-saving tips, and our Savings Experts love to get you the best possible rates on many other monthly bills. Take a few short minutes to sign up, and sit back with a cool glass of water while our team sweats it out on the phone for you!