Shave Dollars From Your Energy Bill This Summer
We all look forward to the summer – until we receive that first electric bill, that is. Some families will conduct a full-on war in order to wrestle control of the thermostat from June to October – but there’s no reason it has to be that way.
What follows are a series of short tips that you can use to drop shave off a couple of bucks from your electricity bill – without turning your house into a full-on sauna.
Upgrade your thermostat
You probably know that the best way to reduce the money you spend on air conditioning is to use it less, but that can be tough to remember. When you’re juggling getting going first thing in the morning – packing lunches, getting the kids together for child care, getting caught up on the news, etc. – it can be tough to remember to dial that thermostat back up to the upper 70s.
The thing is, there are other options. If you’ve still got the same dial on your wall that your grandmother had as you were growing up, you can easily knock a few dollars off your by upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat. Programmable thermostats are nothing new – they have a digital display and can be set to automatically adjust the temperature in your home according to when you’re around.
If you really want to go to the next level, you can upgrade to a smart thermostat. That will enable you to control wherever you have a WiFi connection – perfect for adjusting to rapidly changing weather or if you just want to mess with the housesitter while you’re on vacation.
Clean and replace your filters
How often you run your air conditioner isn’t the only thing that contributes to high utility costs – it may also be centered around how efficient your air conditioner is running. In order to do that, you will want to make sure that your filters are clean.
Getting that done is going to depend on the kind of air conditioner unit you have in your home. If you have a central unit, then the best thing you’ll be able to do is clean or replace the intake filter – look for a big grate on the wall that sucks air in while your air conditioner is running. For most window units, you’ll be looking for an insertable filter in the front of the unit. Remove it first (while the unit isn’t running) and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Cut down on sunlight
Ever been on a long drive and have the sun bake your jeans? The rest of your body is comfortable but the one strip that sunlight hits? The same thing can happen in your home with open windows and thin curtains.
Using blackout curtains can reduce the amount of light and heat that gets in through your windows – meaning that you can reduce the amount of energy you’re putting into the air conditioning. Up to 25% of your air conditioning can be lost through your windows – make sure that when you leave the house, the curtains and windows are shut and covered up well.
Make sure your home is insulated properly
When it comes to insulation, most people think of it as the way to keep the heat inside their homes during the winter. But proper insulation is also necessary during the summertime to keep your cool air in – and there are plenty of places where that air might be escaping.
Windows and doors are the most obvious places. Single pane windows, in particular, are an easy place to lose cool air. Storm windows can help limit some of that loss, but only if you have both panes closed of course.
Other spaces may not be so obvious. Your fireplace, for instance, can be a big sink for your air conditioning, acting like a drain for the cool air to spiral right out. Make sure you have some sort of barrier up over your chimney before the summer hits, otherwise, you’ll just be blasting a plume of cool air up the fireplace the whole season.