We all know that last year was a little bit hotter here in Texoma, but that doesn't change the fact that this July was the hottest month on record for the United States.  So, what does that mean? Outrageous power bills due to air conditioning.  And, chances are, you've been doing something that is costing you money over the long, hot summer.

Some people say that if you want to save money, you should leave your air conditioner on low when you're not home, because it requires more energy to cool down a hot room than it does to keep a room cool.

But according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, that's not actually true.  In reality, air conditioners are most efficient when they're running at full blast.  And they're also better at lowering the humidity level.

So in other words, turn your air conditioner off when you leave for work, then crank it to cool your place down as soon as you get home.

If you have central air, you should either turn it off or set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.  Each degree above that saves you about 3 to 5%, meaning that if you set it at 80 instead of 78, you're using up to 10% less energy.

Unless you have pets, it also doesn't make sense to leave a ceiling fan on when you're not home.  That's because ceiling fans don't actually cool the room down.  They just move air across your skin, which makes you feel cooler. So if you leave a ceiling fan on when you're not in the room, you're just wasting electricity.

(Rodale)