As summer temperatures rise, the heat from a humid, sweltering day can be miserable. Few feelings are more relieving than being able to step into your home and have perfectly conditioned air to greet you at the door. However, the comfort that is delivered by your air conditioner comes at a cost.
High electric bills can cause you to break a sweat if you don’t take steps to save energy and limit your electricity usage. While electric cooperatives work hard to provide affordable energy to members like you, there are simple and easy ways to save on your electric bill. Here are eight energy-saving tips to help keep your electric bill from skyrocketing when the temperatures shoot up this summer.
8 TIPS TO HELP KEEP YOUR ELECTRIC BILL IN CHECK THIS SUMMER
1. MIND YOUR THERMOSTAT
Your thermostat control and air conditioning usage are important to saving energy and lowering your electric bill during the summer.
WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I SET MY THERMOSTAT IN THE SUMMER?
If you can, set your thermostat at the ideal temperature of 78℉. If you need to keep your home’s temperature lower than 78℉, set the air conditioning it to your highest comfortable temperature. The smaller the difference is between your home and outdoor temperature, the lower your electric bill will be. A few degrees can make a difference.
If you are away from your home for several hours, it’s recommended that you turn up the thermostat 7-10 degrees from its normal setting. Doing this eight hours a day can help you save up to 10 percent on your energy bill. A programmable or smart thermostat makes it easy to monitor and automate changes in temperature.
Avoid placing heat-emitting appliances, like a lamp, next to your thermostat. These appliances can cause your AC to run unnecessarily.
Don’t turn your air conditioner off for long periods. It can be tempting to turn off your home’s AC if you are going on vacation or a trip for a few days to save some cash. However, your AC works to cool and dehumidify. Warm, humid air can invite unwanted guests into your home, like mold and mildew.
2. BECOME A FAN OF FANS
Ceiling fans require less power than AC units. Using a fan can make you feel 4℉ cooler than a room that relies solely on air conditioning. This allows you to keep your home at a warmer temperature, saving energy and keeping your electric bill down this summer. Fans can also pull heat and humidity from rooms like the bathroom and kitchen.
Remember to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Fans cool people by creating a windchill effect; they don’t lower the room temperature.
3. TRACK DOWN AND SEAL PESKY AIR LEAKS
Air leaks will cause your electric bill to skyrocket if they go unchecked. As cool air leaves your home, hot air enters, causing your air conditioner to run full blast to compensate for the leaks. Some of the most common places where air leaks occur are:
- Various plumbing
- Electrical outlets
- Dryer vents
- Attic hatches
For smaller leaks, caulking or weatherstripping are easy fixes that can provide alleviation.
4. MINIMIZE HEAT-GENERATING ACTIVITIES
During the hottest parts of the day, avoid activities that generate excess heat, such as using the oven or stove. Instead, choose to cook outdoors on your grill or skillet or prepare meals that require minimal cooking. You could also use small appliances like toasters, air fryers and slow cookers. They use less energy and generate less heat in your kitchen. This is especially helpful if your thermostat is near your kitchen area. Additionally, limit the use of heat-generating appliances like clothes dryers or dishwashers to cooler hours.
5. MAXIMIZE NATURAL LIGHTING
One great part of summer is how long sunlight remains in the sky. Use this natural light to your advantage by allowing it to illuminate your home into the evening hours. Longer days enable you to save electricity by using artificial light sources less often.
6. UTILIZE SHADES AND BLACKOUT CURTAINS TO REDUCE SOLAR HEAT GAIN
- While the elongated natural light can help you naturally illuminate your home longer during the summertime, direct sunlight through a window or door can warm your house, causing your AC unit to run more to keep your house comfortable.
- It’s a good idea to use shades and blackout curtains during peak sunlight times to reduce solar gain.
- To reduce the amount of UV exposure through a window, you can add a window film or treatment to the glass.
- Learn more about these treatments here: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-coverings
7. REPLACE PORCH, PATIO AND LANDSCAPING LIGHTING WITH LEDS
- The warm summer nights make it fun to stay out late.
- Whether you’re shooting hoops in the driveway, finishing up some last-minute projects in the backyard or just want your landscaping to shine, using LED bulbs in your outdoor light fixtures can help reduce your total energy costs.
8. UPGRADE YOUR HOME FOR MAXIMUM ENERGY SAVINGS
If you’ve been in your home for several years, you may need a professional energy audit. An energy auditor looks over your home to see where it is losing energy. After the assessment is complete, you can fix any weak points, which can save money on your electric bill. Common weak points include:
- Your insulation - If your attic insulation is old, it may be letting conditioned air out. Adding insulation can help maintain the temperature of your home.
- Your air conditioning units or system - If your air conditioning system is 15 years old or more, it may be time to replace it. New energy-efficient central AC units can be anywhere from 20-50 percent more efficient than older models.
- Windows and doors - If your windows and doors are leaking air and can’t be fixed with caulk or weatherstripping, replace them with the ENERGY STAR® label equivalent.