Unfortunately, while there is nothing that can be done to keep the warm summer temperatures at bay, there are several tips and tricks to consider in order to keep your electric costs low. Keep these approaches in mind and you may find your energy costs go down, instead of up, this summer.
Keep Your Windows Covered
While many of us love to feel the sun come shining in through our windows in the summer, leaving your windows bare and open is one of the worst things that you can do for your energy bills. Keep your windows covered and you will prevent the sun from heating up your home.
The more heat you allow in the more your air conditioner will have to work to keep your home cooled. Keep your drapes closed to keep heat outside and if you really want to start lowering your cooling costs, consider a special set of thermal-backed drapes or solar shades to prevent the sun’s warm rays from sneaking in.
Energy.gov has some fantastic ideas for energy-efficient window treatments.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Ceiling Fan
So many of us have ceiling fans in the home, but unfortunately, many homeowners don’t use them as much as they should. It costs less to run a ceiling fan than it does an air conditioner, and the right ceiling fan can quickly and easily cool down a home or an entire room. The ceiling fans can make your room feel up to eight degrees cooler, simply by circulating air. Plus, running a ceiling fan uses about as much energy as a 100-watt bulb.
Shopping Around for Lower Electricity Rates
Some states in the U.S. take part in a deregulated energy market, meaning consumers in parts of some states can shop around for electricity rates. Sites like Electric Choice allow consumers to shop around and compare local electric rates and plans -- switching plans may mean saving a few dollars a year, or a few hundred.
Pay Attention to Your Thermostat
The air conditioner is one of the most important appliances for anyone to have in their home during the summer, it is also the culprit behind many people’s high energy costs.
The good news is, there are ways to run and take care of your air conditioner in order to still keep your home cool, while keeping your energy costs down. It costs two times the amount to keep a home at 78 degrees as it does at 70 degrees.
With this in mind, when you leave the home, set your thermostat to 78 degrees. If you’re not inside, you won’t have to worry about the warmer temperatures. When you come back home, set the conditioner back to 70 degrees. It doesn’t take much energy to cool a home back down by eight degrees. However, make sure that you don’t turn the air conditioner off completely, as this will do more harm than good.
Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean and Healthy
It is also important to take good care of your air conditioner. Invest in routine service inspections, as recommended by your manufacturer and make sure to replace your filters regularly. When the filters are clogged, they block air flow in your unit. This means your AC has to work much harder to operate and can cause a drastic increase in your monthly bill.
Do Your Chores at Night
Baking in the oven, putting clothes in the dryer and running the dishwasher are all common chores that we usually can’t avoid, no matter how hot it is outside. Using these appliances unfortunately also dramatically heats our homes up, because they produce heat when they work. This will cause your air conditioner to have to work over-time, meaning you will need to pay more in order to keep your home cool.
A simple solution? Do these chores, if possible, in the evening when its dark outside and the home is naturally cooler. It may seem like a small change, but it can add up to a great deal of savings over time.
Lowering your monthly electricity costs doesn’t have to be as complicated as many people assume. There are ways to keep costs manageable while still keeping your home comfortable this summer, if you are simply willing to put in the extra effort.