Spring is on the horizon, and that means sooner rather than later the summer heat will be bearing down on us. Much like winter, summer comes with drastic temperature changes that can heavily affect our electricity bills. But, believe it or not, there are a number of small changes you can make around your house that will help you maximize your energy savings without compromising your level of comfort.
Keep Your Thermostat in Check
The closer the temperature your thermostat is kept to the temperature outside, the cheaper your air conditioning bill will be. 78° is the number recommended by the Department of Energy for maximum savings. You can also turn off your air conditioning unit when you leave the house. If you are able to, program your thermostat so that it shuts off during the hours no one is home.
Kill the Lights
One of the easiest things you can do is monitor the lights in your house. Lights generate heat that can cause your air conditioner to try and compensate for the raise in temperature. Make sure not to leave lights on in rooms that aren’t being used. Utilize candles and natural light.
Consider using LED bulbs as opposed to the traditional incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs produce light by using electricity to heat a metal filament. An incandescent bulb releases 90% of its energy as heat, heating your room as a result. While LED bulbs are slightly more expensive at the time of purchase, LED bulbs last six times as long as the traditional incandescent bulbs and produce a fraction of the energy, saving you more money in the long run.
Using natural lighting also helps cut down on electricity costs. Open the blinds and let the sun do the work throughout the day. But be careful, you’ll want to close the blinds during the warmest parts of the day to keep the heat out and prevent your air conditioner from working harder to cool your home.
Using a ceiling or portable fan keeps the cool airflow moving throughout your home, possibly delaying using your air conditioner at all. When you do decide to kick on the AC, fans allow you to set your thermostat 4° warmer without any extra discomfort.
In cooler areas, you can leave the windows open, especially at night when it’s coolest. In the morning, shut the windows and blinds to trap in cooler air.
Make sure you keep doors, vents, and blinds closed in the sections of the house you are not using.
Dryers and dishwashers are two of the biggest energy consumers in the house. You can help cut down on the energy they use by letting clothes and dishes air dry.
Using your oven, especially in smaller homes, can raise the temperature significantly, forcing your air conditioner to work overtime. Try using a microwave, stove, or better yet, grill outside.
Be sure and unplug items that aren’t being used. Leaving appliances running creates unnecessary heat. Smaller items such as your TV, computer, etc. can be unplugged when not in use.
This summer try applying a few of these helpful tips to bring your energy bills down without sacrificing your comfort.