Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Heat!

Hey gang, with summertime now officially in full swing, it’s time to show the hottest months of summer who’s boss with easy, inexpensive tricks to keep your comfort levels high and your utility costs low!

Block those brutal rays! – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, closing your curtains and hanging high-quality blinds can reduce the amount of heat that enters your home by as much as 40%.   Don’t be shy about keeping your living areas heavily shaded and darkened during the hottest hours of the day, your energy bill will be thanking you big time.

Hang that clothesline gang!  Monster savings await! – On my facebook page, I just wrapped up a great June experiment in which I ditched my dishwasher & dryer.  Using a backyard clothesline for all laundry (especially those towels!), and handwashing dishes, we saved $70 for the month, and required only 10 hours of work to do it.  Not a bad hourly rate ($7.00), especially when you consider there’s no taxes coming out or gasoline required.  If it doesn’t seem like much, multiply that out for the year and you’ve got an extra $800+ in your bank account, all for about 20 minutes of work per day.  That kind of cash could come in handy with the price of everything going up.

Make with the make-shift air conditioners – not every room-cooling appliance has to cost big bucks.  Try the highly-effective room cooling trick of setting a large bowl of ice in front of your room fans.  As the ice melts, the fan stirs up the cooler air and projects it into the room.  Fabulously effective, and fabulously inexpensive – my favorite combination!

Air Conditioner/Fan Combos – Even I have to admit, at some point this summer, when the heat is at its non-stop peak, the fans just might not cut it, and you’re going to want to have the air conditioners on full blast.  When that day comes, get them at maximum effectiveness (for minimum price) by turning on your air conditioners and fans at the same time.  Use the air conditioner at the lowest setting (to remove humidity from the air), and turn fans on to help move heat away from your body and evaporate sweat.

Don’t forget the fireplace – if you have a fireplace in your home, make sure your damper is shut for summertime!  There’s a truly annoying phenomenon called “flow reversal”, which is just a fancy way of saying that an open damper will actually suck hot air into your home rather than allow it out.   Not cool.  Literally.

Don’t forget to spritz – a friend of mine once told me about this trick, and I thought she was nuts.  Then I tried it, and became a believer.  Keep some little spray bottles (easily found at dollar stores) in your refrigerator.  Bring them with you when you’re outside and give your arms & face a spritz whenever the heat gets intense.  The kids love it, and it works beautifully.

Turn off any unused appliances – your computer and televisions emit more heat than you might think.  If they’re not in use, give serious thought to just turning them off for the day, your utility bill will thank you for it.

Stay cool, and frugal on everybody!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She resides in her as-of-yet unfinished fixer upper in Chester County, PA with her husband and kids.  The Kristen Hagopian Show airs on BizTalkRadio and you can find her online at