As the mercury rises this summer, most of us switch on our air-conditioners and also expect our energy bills to start soaring as well. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are my top 10 tips to stay cool this summer without having to break the piggy bank:

1. Use fans instead of your air con. 

Fans use way less energy to run than air conditioners. If it is not too hot outside, fans can be as effective to circulate air and keep the house cool as air conditioners, especially ceiling fans.

This also helps prevent those sniffly noses in the morning from having the air con running all night.

2. If you do have to use your air con, set the temperature to 74°F/23°C. 

It’s a temperature low enough for your body to stay cool, but not too low that your air con has to run on overdrive to maintain the desired temperature. This means less energy consumption and more savings for you.

When combined with ceiling fans, you can set your thermostat to an additional 4°F without feeling a difference in temperature.

3. Close the doors on areas less used areas around the home.

By concentrating your cooling zone to parts of the home where you spend the most time, like the living room and kitchen, your air con doesn’t have to work as hard to try and cool the entire home.

4.  Keep windows, blinds and curtains closed on those sweltering days.

By keeping the light and heat out on those blinding hot days, your chances of keeping your house cool are dramatically increased. Once the temperature drops in the evening, you can open your windows, blinds, and curtains up again and hope for a cooling breeze to circulate around the home.

5. Move the fridge and freezer.

Fridges and freezers are at the top end of energy guzzlers in the home, and when ambient temperature rises as it does in summer, these appliances start to work over time to keep our food cool.

Most of us have these appliances pushed right up against the wall to save on space, but did you know this can make your units up to 40% less efficient? It is because the cooling elements are found at the back of fridges and freezers, so the closer they are to a wall, the hotter they get, and the harder they need to work.

By moving your fridge and freezer unit just 4 inches/10cm from the wall you can reduce heat generated from the appliance itself, and save money on energy costs.

6. Keep the freezer free of frost.

It’s a good idea to defrost your freezer regularly to ensure that frost does not build up to more than ¼ of an inch/6mm. This is because frost becomes a sort of insulation in your freezer and makes it work harder than it should.

7. Keep the cooling elements of your fridge and freezer clean. 

I’m sure we’ve all seen the dust that likes to accumulate in and around our fridge or freezer. This dust makes your units run less efficiently, work harder and wear down faster.

Save yourself the money and the stress by wiping these down once or twice a year.

8. Fill empty milk jugs and place them in the freezer.

Every time you open the freezer door to grab something, the cool air escapes, the room temperature air floods in. Once you close the door, your freezer starts working to bring the temperature back down again.

But by having large frozen items in your freezer, like empty milk jugs with water, you get less temperature fluctuation because there is less cold air to escape, and the room temperature air coming in can cool faster with these large cold items helping the unit to do its job.

9. Avoid heat generating activities.

When cooking, avoid using the oven which will quickly dissipate the benefits of any cooling strategies you may have employed.

Use the stove top, or even better, fire up the grill outside. What’s more summer than a rooftop or backyard bbq?!

10. Insulate.

My tips so far have been 0 cost tips, but for those of you really set on making a difference to your energy bills, invest in good insulation. This not only keeps your home cooler in the summer, but will also reduce heating costs in the winter too.

If all else fails, my all-time favorite, no fail summer cooling tip –  ice cream!