If you shudder at the thought of opening your electric bill during the summer months, you’re sure to be in the mood for a few great tips for saving energy this summer! It’s easier than you think to cut some corners (and some dollars from your energy expenses) during the warmer months. We’ve gathered together a few of our favorite ideas to trim your bills while keeping your cool!
One of the best ways to reduce your electric bill during the summer is to narrow the gap between your inside temperature and the great outdoors. Don’t sacrifice comfort – it’s no fun to walk into an 80 degree room – but keeping your thermostat as high as you can will reduce both the shock of rapid temperature change AND your cooling costs!
Make sure you get a programmable thermostat. This handy gadget allows you to keep your home warmer when you’re away at work or on vacation, and can kick in to cool your home down again right before you come home. You can also set a programmable thermostat to get maximum energy savings. There’s a complete Energy Star set of guidelines available for programmable thermostats here…it will help you choose the unit that will work the best for your home.
And last but not least, resist the temptation to set your thermostat lower than you normally would when your home is overly warm and you want to cool it down. Your home won’t reach the target temperature any faster, and you’ll more than likely drive up your electric bill in the process.
Work with the Weather
When it cools down to a comfortable sleeping temperature at night, turn off your air conditioning and open your windows. When you wake up, close your windows and cover them with curtains or blinds to allow less sunshine (AKA heat) to enter your home. Turn the air on again, but at a higher temperature than you need when you’re at home. Be aware of the importance of weather stripping and caulking – sealing your doors and windows as tightly as possible helps keep hot air from weaseling its way into your house.
Be Your Own Biggest Fan
Use fans efficiently – only run them while people are in the room. Fans are designed to cool people by stirring air currents that cool their bodies; they don’t actually cool the air in a room. However, when used along with air conditioning, you can raise the thermostat in the room by four degrees and not notice a difference in your comfort level. Make sure you use the fans in your bathroom and laundry room – they are designed to remove the heat and humidity from these small, enclosed spaces. Make sure these fans vent to the outside rather than to an attic.
Watch Your Lighting and Appliances
Lamps, TV’s and appliances that run constantly – such as refrigerators – should not be placed near thermostats. They pick up heat from these units, causing them to run longer than they should.
Instead of using the oven, try options such as microwaves, crock pots, the stove top or a meal on the grill for summer eating. Make sure you wash dishes or clothes only when you have a full load, and consider allowing both to air dry. (And nothing smells better than clothes fresh off the line!) Reduce hot water usage (and increase your comfort) by opting for short, cool showers rather than hot baths.
Invest in lighting that saves energy by reducing heat. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat. Try halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead.
Maintain to Gain…
Get the most out of your HVAC units by making sure they’re in tip-top condition. A thorough cleaning by a trained professional can help you get the best performance out of them for years to come. Be sure to keep registers in your home vacuumed to prevent buildup of dust that can cause reduced performance.
A few small changes can end up putting more cash in your pocket…that you can use to treat yourself to some chilly drinks or your favorite ice cream!