Monday, April 27, 2009

Frugal Ways to Beat the Heat

Much of the eastern United States is shaded in orange or red on today's weather map. It's just too hot for April!

We are avoiding starting up our air conditioner for now, since normal temperatures should return in a few days. So, to avoid spending all day (and all our money) at the mall, we've been trying to find other ways to keep cool.

My first decision was to modify my plan for dinner. Instead of baking bread (and heating up the kitchen), we'll have tortilla chips with chili. The chili is in the slow cooker, which is a great help in keeping the kitchen cool during hot weather. (As an aside, I've thought about one of these roaster ovens. Do you know if they generate much heat? Not that I have space to store another countertop appliance, anyway!)

My second decision was to do today's most important tasks early in the day. I exercised, started the chili, did the laundry, and took care of a few other things that couldn't wait.

A ceiling fan in the bedroom has saved us a significant amount of money on air conditioning. My husband installed one last spring. It was a fairly inexpensive model (it's not the one pictured in this post), and--I kid you not--we saved $30 per month all summer. That's saving ten percent of the electric bill for those months. That fan paid for itself in the first month! Because of the fan, we were able to raise the thermostat setting by 3 degrees.

Other than that, we're just doing the basics: Drink plenty of water. Keep the blinds and curtains closed, so the sunlight doesn't heat up the house. Use fans; we have a tower fan in the living room, and it does a great job of circulating the air.

Are you caught in this unseasonably hot weather? What are you doing to beat the heat?
An edited version of this article is published at Associated Content.


  1. I wimped out and turned on the A/C over the weekend but it will be turned off when temps are cooler at the end of the week! Even though air is on we still do some of the tips you mentioned to keep our electric bill down. I have my crockpot and roaster that I can use instead of the oven and it keeps the house so much cooler.

  2. Melissa I have a GE roaster and while it is big and bulky it roasts a chicken or roast to perfection and it does not heat up the kitchen at all. I think it puts off a little more heat than the crockpot but not enough to notice.

  3. Great tips! We are in the middle of all this heat too, and it's miserable. We've kept the curtains closed, lights off, and ceiling fans on. We've also grilled out rather than cooking indoors and are doing our laundry in the evenings to keep things cooler. I can't wait until it cools back down.

  4. Lorie - Thanks for the information on the roaster oven. I'll start looking for an inexpensive one. We did eventually wimp out and turn on the A/C, too.


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