Summer has arrived and as the temperatures begin to soar, many consumers can expect their electric bill to do the same. As the hot weather sets in, air conditioners will be working on full blast effectively sending a reasonable electric bill through the ceiling. While there are many ways to reduce your electricity usage, from upgrading to energy conserving appliances to selecting premium grade windows, these are not options that a cash-strapped consumer can readily use. There are some easy and affordable ways to reduce your summer energy bill without having to shell out big bucks on home upgrades. Here is a look at how consumers on a budget can lower their high summer electric bill.

SEE: 6 Ways To Save On Your Utility Bill

Use Heavy Drapes on Windows
A method that is frequently used to keep heat in during the winter time, can also effectively keep the chill from the air conditioner in the house during the warm summer months. Hanging heavy drapes in front of windows will help keep the house cool by not letting the glaring sun warm up the house. Depending on how many windows you have in your house, installing heavy drapes can be an effective way of keeping your house cool. If buying drapes for all of the windows in your home is too expensive, you could opt to hang them in the areas of your house that get the most sun exposure.

Use Energy Saver Option on Air Conditioner
When you are not at home, use the energy saver option on your air conditioner rather than turning it off. The energy saver will keep your house at a cool temperature. If you turn off your air conditioner the temperature in your house will rise, and when you turn the unit back on it will need to work harder to cool your house down again, in turn rising your electric bill. Additionally, if your air conditioner has seen better days, it is likely that it is not as energy efficient as some of the newer models on shelves today. If money allows, it may be wise to upgrade your air conditioning unit before next summer arrives.

SEE: Save Money On Summer Bills

Recall the Fire Safety Warning "Heat Rises"
As children, we are taught that heat rises. If you have an air conditioning unit running on the first floor of your home, you could help keep your house cooler by shutting all of the doors on the second floor. The less space your air conditioner needs to cool, the quicker and easier it will do so. By stopping the airflow to certain areas of your house, you are helping to reduce your electric bill in a big way.

Ceiling and Window Fans Go a Long Way
When you're trying to save money on your electric bill during the summer, it is wise to limit the use of the air conditioner to extremely hot days. Fortunately, ceiling fans and window fans do not use nearly as much electricity as an air conditioning unit does. Well placed fans can keep cool air circulating in the house, and keep your home from feeling like a sauna. If you do not already have them installed in your home, consider purchasing ceiling fan units. Install a unit in each of the bedrooms to keep air circulating as you sleep.

Lights off During the Day Time
A simple way to conserve energy and lower your electric bill is to turn off all of the lights during the day. If the weather permits, open the windows and allow natural light to shine in, instead of keeping artificial lights on all day long. This move will help reduce your electric bill significantly by reducing your electric use during the day, and keeping your home cool in case you need to turn on your air conditioner later.

The Bottom Line
Saving money on your electric bill is easy when you know where to make cuts. There are some simple and cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use during the summer months. You can drastically reduce your energy bill during the hot summer months by limiting your air conditioner use, installing thermal drapes and using fans to maximize the ventilation in your home. A high electric bill can be a source of great stress for many struggling consumers. This summer, don't fret over a costly energy bill and find ways to reduce your bill instead.

SEE: The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

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