Homeowners, beware. As summer approaches and the temperature rises, your utility bills are about to do the same.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple changes you can make that will reduce your monthly bills without sacrificing comfort. So before you crank up the AC, check out our top energy-efficient tips—and use those utility bills savings on a summer vacation instead.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
If you tend to be lazy with thermostats, setting it to one temperature and then forgetting about it, you’re not alone. But to keep your power costs low this summer, you shouldn’t be cranking the AC at all hours. At the very least, you should lower the temperature at night and set your thermostat a bit higher during the day. For every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees in the summer, you could cut down your home energy bill by 6-8%.
But if you’re not around to change the setting, or if you’re just simply forgetful, you should install a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature of your home even when you’re not there.
Service Your HVAC and Change Air Filters
Before the summer starts, have your HVAC serviced by a specialist, since almost half of your utility bill is from cooling your home through your HVAC.
After all, there’s nothing worse than finding out your AC is broken in the middle of summer. To avoid this headache, have your HVAC specialist test all components of your system (air conditioner, vents, and ducts) to ensure it’s working properly. They will also check fluid levels, lubricate the gears, and test the accuracy of the thermostat for optimal HVAC use. This precautionary step—in addition to changing your filters regularly—will ensure your AC unit works efficiently all summer long.
Use Auto-turn Off Stations
Did you know that chargers can suck up nearly 8% of a home’s total power when they aren’t plugged in and being used? Get rid of these energy vampires by investing in a smart charging station that automatically turns off when your devices are done charging. This small change can save up to $180 a year on your energy bill!
Keep Windows and Doors Tightly Shut
The last thing you want on a hot day is for the cool air from your air conditioner to escape through the gaps in your windows and doors. According to EnergyStar.gov, fixing a drafty home can save you as much as 10% on your energy bill, so be sure to block gaps around windows and door frames with weather strips or draft guards, and always keep your windows and doors tightly shut.
Water in the Morning and Evening
During the hottest hours of the day, any water you use in your garden quickly evaporates from the surface without doing any good for your lawn or plants. To avoid water waste (and a higher water bill), water your garden and lawn during the cooler hours of the early morning or after the sun has gone down, and always water near the base of the plant so it gets straight to the roots. Any water on the leaves and foliage will just go to waste.
Lower Temperature of Hot Water Heater
Most people keep their hot water heaters much hotter than necessary to perform basic functions. Lowering the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit can cut down your energy bill annually, and chances are that you probably won’t even notice the difference. Besides, cooler showers in the summer don’t just mean less energy—they feel more refreshing, too!
Invest in Energy-star Appliances
Appliances use a lot of energy, and older ones tend to be a real drain. For example, replacing a pre-1994 clothes washer will save you as much as $110 a year. An easy way to check the energy-efficiency is to look for the Energy Star logo. For appliances to be Energy Star certified, they must pass a series of lab and functionality tests to determine their overall efficiency. The more appliances you have with the Energy Star seal, the better. So, if you’re planning on investing in a new washing machine or refrigerator this summer, be sure to check for the Energy Star logo before purchasing.
Check Your Insulation
Properly insulating your home will not only keep you and your family cooler, it will also help keep money in your pocket. According to HouseLogic, upgrading your insulation can save you anywhere from 10-50% on your heating and cooling bills. You’ll want to check the ductwork, attics, and basements for air leaks. By sealing leaky ductwork, you can ensure that your cooled air isn’t leaking outside and the hot exterior air isn’t sneaking in your home. If you aren’t sure how to check if your home is properly insulated, have a professional come out to perform an inspection.
Close Your Blinds and Curtains
When you leave your blinds and curtains open during the day, solar heat pours through and warms your home, which causes your air conditioner to have to work overtime. But you can make a big impact on reducing your home’s interior temperature simply by closing the curtains and blinds. Best of all, it can help you save 10-15% on your summer cooling costs.
Use Your Ceiling fan
By using your ceiling fan to cool your home, you can run your air conditioner at a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort. In fact, ceiling fans may reduce heating costs by 20 to 30 percent. In the summer, turn your ceiling fan counter-clockwise to create a cooling wind. Since heat rises, this helps pull the cool air up to the ceiling to more efficiently cool your home.
As you can see, lowering your utility bills doesn’t require a ton of effort or investment. By implementing some of these tips, you’ll be able to keep your utility bills low this summer despite the heat. And, if you live in a deregulated energy region, you can always contact your energy provider to check for any special summer promotions and see if you can lower your energy rate. Often, energy providers offer “free nights” in the summer, so it’s definitely worth researching!
This guest post was featured by Rob Caiello of Allconnect.