3 Ways to Save Money on Your A/C Bill

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We're heading into peak air conditioning season, and that means electricity bills will be at their peak, squeezing consumers. But there are a few easy ways to save on your energy bill and some good investments to make that profit from high energy costs. Let's start with some easy ways to save money this month.

Adjust your thermostat
Turning your set temperature up when you leave the home can save money without sacrificing comfort. This can be done manually, but a programmable thermostat can be set to lower energy use while you're at work during peak energy times and turn your air conditioning back on before you get home. Honeywell (NYSE: HON  ) sells thermostats that can not only be programmed by day and time, but you can also access them through a smartphone app. Adjusting your home's temperature to 78 degrees during the day versus 73 degrees can save 30% on your energy bill, so this is a quick fix that you may not even notice.  

Throw out old light bulbs
Replacing old incandescent or halogen light bulbs with CFL or LED lights can also save you money in two ways. They use less energy to light a room, but they also generate far less heat than traditional bulbs. In fact, 90% of the energy used by old bulb technology generates heat, not light. Energy Circle did a test of three types of lights, finding that halogen lights ran at 327 degrees, CFLs were 167 degrees, and an LED light was 107 degrees. The cost savings of replacing light bulbs goes far beyond the lower wattage in the bulb itself; it puts less stress on your air conditioner as well.  

Move that furniture
Finally, rearranging furniture can save you money on air conditioning without costing you a dime. Vents can often wind up under a sofa or beneath a dresser, which keeps those items nice and cool but wastes energy cooling your home. Check where your vents are and make sure they allow free air flow and you'll save a few dollars on your next electric bill.  

Investing in energy
If you're even more ambitious than making these small changes there are a few other ways to you can save money, or even make money when energy costs are high. The first is by going solar. Sunrun, SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) , and SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) have wide networks of installers that will install solar panels on your roof for $0 down and at a lower cost than your electricity rate. In short, for nothing more than some rooftop space you can save money on your electricity bill every month.

Another way to profit from high electricity usage is to buy companies that profit from electricity prices by owning power-generating assets. NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG  ) has both utility and power generation assets and is one of the largest solar power owners in the world. Exelon (NYSE: EXC  ) is another power generator that pays investors back with a solid 4% dividend yield. As power usage rises and prices go up these companies make money for those who own their stocks.

The U.S. is also going through a transformation by producing more of our energy domestically rather than importing it. In fact, we may become a net energy exporter in the next decade. Find out which three companies are leading the charge, check out the special free report, "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (1)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 8:42 PM, ooologist wrote:

    Also be sure to take steps to reduce the humidity in your home as much as possible. More water in the air more takes energy to cool it down.

  • Report this Comment On April 11, 2014, at 11:18 AM, rpace1906 wrote:

    Now that I have my own family and home, I now see why parents were so strict about turning things off when we left places. I never once took thought growing up how much AC and heating can cost you each month. For someone who is new to this whole thing, I'm willing to try anything to save money, and am looking forward to trying out these 3 things.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2014, at 12:46 PM, LaureyWilliams wrote:

    I live in a very hot climate, so having AC is practically a must for me! However, it's nice to know that there are certain tricks I could do to save money on an AC unit. I'll definitely have to try and implement some of these!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2014, at 8:19 PM, jlclayton wrote:

    While this is not a small item, for those who are looking to replace their furnace and air conditioning system within the next couple of years, I highly recommend looking at a geothermal water furnace. We replaced ours 3 years ago with the geothermal unit and couldn't be happier with it. Until 2016 you will be able to take a 30% credit on your taxes, and this credit includes the entire cost of installation as well as the unit itself. The difference in cost for us between this unit and a top of the line traditional furnace was just over $2,000 once the credits were taken into account, and we have already made up that amount between the reduction in our electric bills and not having to purchase propane for heating. One other benefit with the geothermal water furnace is that the unit actually is more efficient when you keep the house temperature stable. So you don't need to turn down the temp in the winter or up in the summer, my husband's favorite part!

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2014, at 11:05 AM, sophiagbill wrote:

    I have been looking into saving money on my ac without having to turn the air off and found ac pre cooling misters. There is one The Mister that seems to be good. Anyone know about these? Easy install, save up to 30%, tax credits, save on your ac and electric bill. Seems amazing. Here is the site.

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