Want to know where all your money’s going in the dog days of summer? Chances are, it’s your electric bill. Findings from the U.S. Department of Energy show that air conditioning in the summer (and heating in the winter) accounts for almost half of your power bill.

Here’s how to get through the rest of the summer with your wallet intact.

Work on Self Discipline

There are several common sense things you can do to minimize energy consumption. Just find your internal parent nagging you to turn off the lights. Reduce cooling costs by planning activities outside. Don’t forget to turn the AC down when you leave home. According to the Department of Energy, this one act can save you up to 15 percent on your bill.

Keep potential savings at the front of your mind mind when you’re walking in from a hot day at the beach. Jolting the thermostat down to frigid temps won’t help the apartment cool down any faster, and you’ll likely just forget you did it as you adjust to the cooler environment.

You should also make a practice of setting your thermostat to 78 F. And deal with it. Your body (and mind) will adjust in a few days, and soon you won’t notice. Many communities have some smart thermostat technology to help you develop new habits and become more aware of what can save money.

Look for Energy Leaks – and Address Them

Heat seeps in through windows and doors. On the next bright day, inspect your door frames and windows for any light seeping in. Submit a maintenance request if you have any openings.

Another effective way to block the heat out is to shut your blinds during the day. Look into putting up some insulated shades. And choose curtains that are a light hue, to deflect sunlight. Hang your treatments right up against the windowpane, in order to block outside heat from getting in. Planting potted shade trees on your apartment balcony can also prove helpful, blocking sunlight in a natural way.

Create Air Flow

Air flow is a tall order in an apartment where you can’t get a cross breeze going, but fans can still be remarkably effective. They cool the skin and make you more comfortable without upping the AC usage.

Preventive Care

Cut down on using your TV and computer on the hottest days. A gaming system can easily heat up an entire room. Reduce the bill by installing LEDs over traditional bulbs. Don’t block vent covers with furniture, and keep them free from dust so they can do their job.

Cooking & Cleaning

Be mindful of any daily activities that heat up your apartment, such as oven use, running the dryer, and taking a hot shower. In other words, don’t make your home work extra hard to keep you cool. Look into using a slow cooker or Instant Pot, grilling, and making salads for meals in the summertime. After cooking, be sure to use the exhaust fan.

Opt to do your housework during during off-peak hours. The utilities company charges less during this time for washing clothes, cooking, and washing dishes. Get in touch with your local company for details.

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