Tips To Beat High Summer Electric Bills
As the summer heat begins to rise, your electric bill usually follows right along with it. Warmer temperatures mean air conditioners run all day and all night, and that can add up to some hefty utility bills.
There are ways to stay cool without going broke, and here are some of our most practical tips:
Air conditioning can be up to 50% of your electricity bill, and possibly even more during the summer months. Some easy maintenance steps with your air conditioner can help it work much more efficiently.
First, change the filter so that air flows properly through your A/C unit (and bring some allergy relief to the pollen-sufferers in your house). Second, be sure your outside condensing unit is free of leaves, yard clippings, and other debris. Finally, a periodic air conditioning tune-up will ensure proper coolant levels in your system, drains are clear, and your system is operating properly.
You’ll spend less money on air conditioning if your home is cooler inside to begin with. Keep the heat outside by covering windows during the day to block out the sunlight. Use landscaping to block the sun, as well, by planting bushes or vines in spaces that block the windows. In addition, energy efficient window treatments such as blinds, awnings, and window tinting, especially on east and west facing windows, can significantly reduce UV ray penetration and help keep your home cool.
Did you know that even if you’re not using your TV or microwave, it’s probably still drawing power? Appliances that are designed to come on instantly will always use a small amount of power, as long as they’re plugged in.
These appliances, sometimes referred to as “energy vampires,” can increase your electric bills by a significant amount. Unplug those phone chargers, blow dryers, and stereos when you’re not using them. Put your kitchen appliances on a power strip, and you can shut off the power to all of them with the flick of one switch.
Did you install one of those trendy WiFi learning thermostats? Do you actually know how to use it?
If you’ve got a new programmable WiFi thermostat such as a Nest or Ecobee, set it so your home is warmer when you’re gone. Also, make your evening temperature warmer, too. These smart thermostats will actually learn your cooling preferences and your patterns. Plus, some electricity plans come with free smart WiFi thermostats or Google home hub.
Consider saving money by raising the temperature on your thermostat to 75* rather than 72*. If you’re comfortable in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, the home is cool enough. Raising the temperature by even two or three degrees can save you almost 10 percent on your cooling bill each year.
When the temperature’s warm but not sweltering, using fans can be just as effective as using air conditioning, and will cost significantly less. Install ceiling fans in rooms you spend a significant amount of time in, such as bedrooms and living rooms, and use portable fans for other parts of the house.
Keep 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 (as you look up at them, counterclockwise in summer and clockwise in winter.)
When’s the last time you checked your electricity plan? Perhaps your electricity plan has expired and you’re paying higher month-to-month electric rates. Researching your electricity provider options can save you a lot of money each month, for just a few minutes’ research.
By checking the available options, you can find which companies offer cheaper electricity rates, and you may find some that offer a bonus or more flexible plan than the one you have now. Comparing your current plan with the others available in your community once or twice every year is always a good idea, and can almost always save you money...