It is officially summer and as the temperatures begin to soar, so will our electric bills. As the hot weather sets in, we are tempted to crank up the air conditioners to stay cool, this can cause our electric bills to spike.
On average customers use about 35% more electricity during the hot weather. Just like driving more means spending more at the pump, during the summer, your electric bill will likely be higher, simply because more energy is being used.
How can we keep cool while also reducing our energy bills, and in turn, our energy usage during the summer?
Here is a look at 10 tips to help you stay cool and lower your energy use.
1. Clean Your Air Conditioning Vents and Units
In order for an air conditioning unit to function efficiently, its filters, coils, and fins must be maintained regularly. Routinely replacing or cleaning ac filters is crucial to an AC functioning properly. Clogged and dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. Clearing a clogged A/C unit filter alone can save 5 to 15 percent in energy use, and will help keep the unit in proper working order for longer – saving you money on expensive replacements down the road.
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2. Turn On Your Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan is a great tool to use alongside your air conditioner. A ceiling fan can cut back on air conditioning needs, saving up to 40 percent on electricity, and if the climate permits, you can even eliminate air conditioning altogether by solely using a fan.
Do bear in mind that fans cool people, not rooms, so turn them off when you leave. Also, be sure that your ceiling fans are circulating the right way, i.e. counterclockwise in summer and clockwise in winter.
3. Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is one of the best investments I have made within the past year. I am able to program what hours my home will be vacant and when I will be asleep. During those times, it will adjust the temperature of your home accordingly. This removes the hassle of constantly adjusting your thermostat or coming home to a scorching house.
4. Get Outside
The summer months are the best time to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family. Hit the pool, plan a beach day or barbecue dinner, and spend mornings and evenings outside.
When you’re out of the house, you’re not using energy that would otherwise be used to cool you off. Turning off lights, air-conditioning, and not using energy-consumers like water heating or cooking can help reduce your energy costs.
5. Dry Clothes Outdoor
I love the smell of sun-dried clothes. Give your dryer a break and create a clothesline outside. It doesn’t take to much effort, and the line can typically be hung between a few trees in your backyard. The less shade the clothes are in the quicker the clothes will dry. Clothespins are very inexpensive and can be used over and over. Depending on how long your clothes line is you can dry many wet clothes at a time.
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6. Plants Can Provide Much-Needed Shade
Planting shrubs and trees on the south and west sides of your house, or at least over your outdoor A/C unit, can make your cooling systems up to 10 percent more efficient. Plants and shrubs reduce heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches your home’s walls and windows. Use a large bush or row of shrubs to shade a patio or driveway. Plant a hedge to shade a sidewalk.
7. Install Outdoor Solar Lighting
One of the best ways to shave money off your electric bill is to not use electricity at all. This makes outdoor solar lighting beneficial. They soak up solar energy during the day, and then light up the outside of your home at night for free. Does it get any better than that?
8. Use Cold Water for Laundry
Do you do your laundry using hot water? This is not uncommon, but it is also a cause for higher electric bills. Your washer’s energy consumption can be 90 percent less if you use cold water instead of hot. This is due to the decreased cost in heating the water. A cost-saving method to definitely consider.
9. Change Bulbs to LED or Fluorescent
If a bulb around your house burns out, don’t replace it with another standard bulb. Instead, upgrade to a compact fluorescent bulb or even an LED. These bulbs are among the most efficient available to consumers with a number of benefits in both usage and cost. LEDs and CFLs also have significantly longer lifespans and their increased efficiency prevents them from emitting the same kind of heat energy as other bulbs, which is unhelpful in the already warm summer.
10. Use Your Windows to Cool At Night
If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, turning off your cooling system and opening the windows to let cool air in (and hot air out!) is a great way to save energy and lower your energy bill. During the day, keeping blinds drawn and windows closed can help keep the pesky heat from warming up your interior space, and making your cooling systems work harder to keep the space comfortable.
Summary: Stay Cool and Cut Your Electric Bill in Half This Summer
Not all the above tips will significantly reduce your electric bills on their own. However, by implementing a few of these energy-saving tips together, you can reduce a large portion of your electricity costs.
Note that the degree to which these tips will help depends on your current habits and your ability to stick with them so identify which will have the biggest impact on you and your home. Whatever tip you will start with, finding ways to save consistently during the warm season will help to make the summertime even better.
How do you save on your electric bills?