Okay, so I had a happy accident that led to the tip I am going to tell you about. Blackout or room darkening curtains; I think they go by either name. Yup, blackout curtains have saved me a ton on energy and having to use my air conditioner as much this Summer. Last Fall, I was fed up with the mini blinds that we had. We had been using those things for the past 12 years and I fought with them every single day. Especially the sliding glass door blinds. I would go to open or close the blinds and the lines would either be twisted in a knot, or the blind pieces themselves would fall off leaving big gaps in the blind. Sun would come in and place a glare on the television, plus it just looked horrible and never really darkened the room. It was super annoying. With that, I came up with a bright idea to put curtains up. Which, I must tell you is a bit of a process, but well worth the effort.
Since putting up the curtains I use my air conditioner about a third of what I used to. For the past 12 years, I ran my air conditioner during late Spring, Summer, and early Fall all day every day. We literally ran that sucker 24/7. This year, however, since having the curtains, it keeps all (well most) of the heat out. I don’t turn my air conditioner on until about an hour before bed. I mean this is seriously a game changer for us and a great tip for anyone wanting to limit the use of their air conditioner and lower their electric bill. I think the trick is to use the blackout/room darkening curtains. To be honest, the room darkening curtains cost a bit more, but well worth the extra money. The return on investment is just awesome, plus the curtains look much nicer than those miniblinds.
A good tip that I think makes using the curtains much easier is to use rings that go on the rod instead of fishing the curtain itself through the rod. It makes it much easier to open and close the curtains.