SmartMoney has some ideas on how to save money on energy this summer.

Typically, the average household spends $1,400 a year on electricity and gas, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But you can expect that amount to jump this year — by as much as 120%, warns Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

To save money, SmartMoney suggests that you:

  • Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Energy-efficient appliances are generally more expensive, but there are often tax credits available. And the long-term savings makes up for the initial expense.
  • Be a night owl. This isn’t an option for everyone, but some utilities offer a discount during off-peak hours.
  • Get with the program. The small expense of a programmable thermostat can save you money in the long run. When you’re not home in the summer, set the thermostat at higher temperatures.
  • Use fans. Fans are cheaper to operate than air conditioners. The Get Rich Slowly compound has no air-conditioning at all, but we have several fans at key locations.
  • Clean up. If you do use an air conditioner, clean the filters and coils before the season begins, and then once a month during the summer.
  • Blow off steam. Lower the thermostat on your water heater. (This is a good way to save money year-round, but some of us like hot showers and baths in the winter.)
  • Green your yard. This point is worth its own entry. (And look for the Get Rich Slowly guide to frugal lawn care coming soon.) Essentially: trees and shrubs use less water than grass. They can also provide valuable shade.
  • Seal it in. The hot weather and direct sun can open new leaks in your home — conduct a home energy audit to spot problem areas.
  • Free you outlets. Unplugging certain appliances when they’re not in use can save you money. (The article notes that leaving your computer on all the time can cost an extra $88/year. I’ll start putting my machine to sleep when I’m away.)

There are other ways to save that the article fails to mention. I’m a proponent of only turning on lights if you need them, especially during the summer. (From now til August, I can go days without turning on lights in most rooms in the house.) Don’t water your lawn (or water it very little) — allow the grass to go dormant. Don’t use your range — fix cool meals (salads, sandwiches) or grill outdoors.

GRS is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate. Find the highest savings interest rates and CD rates from Synchrony Bank, Ally Bank, GE Capital Bank, and more.