How to Lower Your Electric Bill in the Summer
In most parts of the country, summer is a time when the temperatures hit record highs, the rain takes a vacation and the air conditioners come out. When you start dumping electricity into these machines to cool down your home, your power bill takes off like a rocket. There are dozens of ways to lower your energy bill, including replacing windows, roof treatments and energy-efficient appliances. Most of these, however, are out of the price range of the typical mid or low-income family. If your summer electricity bills are hovering in the clouds, give some of these simple tips a shot.
Specifically, install heavy curtains that block and reflect the sun’s heat. In the winter, these sort of curtains will act as a barrier over your windows, keeping heat in. In the summer, it works the same way, keeping the heat out and the chill inside. Windows are one of the primary ways the sun heats up your home; just think of a greenhouse and you can see why. If your home has too many windows to afford curtains for all of them easily, determine which windows get the most sunlight during the day and cover those.
Pay Attention to Energy Saver Options
If you turn your AC unit off completely, your home will heat up and it will take more power to cool it down again. If you’re keeping it relatively cool, you save money overall.
Some air conditioners have an energy saver mode. This mode keeps your home cool without spending much energy. If you’re actively home, you’ll want the machine on full blast, but you don’t need to keep your house an icebox when you’re away at work or running errands. ¬†If you’re using an older window unit that doesn’t have this option, you might be able to upgrade for a relatively minor fee. Even a slightly older model today can be found on shelves for a low cost. You don’t need to upgrade every appliance in your home, but a modern air conditioner can save a bundle.
Remember Air Flow and Heat Movement
Heat always rises. If your home has several floors and you spend most of your time on the lower floor, close the doors upstairs. This limits the area your air conditioner has to cool, which makes it take less energy to cool that area. Of course, your upper floors will be more uncomfortable when you do enter them, but with some planning you can open doors an hour or so before going upstairs to bed and be comfortable.
Make Use of Fans
A little airflow goes a long way. Ceiling fans and window fans can help cool a room significantly, especially on those days that are a few degrees warmer than comfortable but not quite hot enough to warrant the air conditioning. Use window fans during the evening to blow cool air in, and use them during the day to force warmer air out. With the right eye on circulation, you can keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.
Lights take energy. Chances are you don’t need lights on in every room during the day. Even with the modern CFL bulbs, they still draw energy and, more importantly, put out heat. Both of these cause your energy bills to rise. Limit the number of lights you use during the day, turn them off when you’re not in the room and, if you haven’t already, and replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.
It’s tempting to set the air conditioner to a lower temperature than is comfortable in an effort to cool the house faster. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. All it does is make the air conditioner work harder to cool your home and keeps it working longer trying to reach that lower temperature. Rather than burn energy, set it to the temperature you want and let it do its work.
Saving on your energy bill comes down to keeping electronics, lights and appliances off as much of the time as possible. When you use minor physical barriers like curtains to block natural heat and keep in the cool, you can extend the reach of every watt that goes to cool your home. As long as you’re smart about it, you can save dozens of dollars every month on your power bills.