There’s a famous quote by Russian author Anton Chekhov that goes, “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” We’re thinking that maybe the second part of Mr. Chekhov’s quote was lost, because it was most likely, “Well, until they get their outrageously high electric bill in the summer and it ruins their mood. Catch you dudes at the pool!” Luckily, there are some simple ways to lower your electricity bill in the summer so that you can stay cool and happy.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
If you keep a regular schedule during the week—say, you wake up at 6am, go to work at 7:30am, and return home at 6pm—you can set a programmable thermostat to cool your home only when you’re actually home. So instead of keeping your house at a comfy 75 degrees 24/7, you can use the programmable thermostat to automatically allow the temperature to go up to 83 degrees when the house is empty. Running your air conditioning less during the day, especially during the hottest time of the day, could result in a much lower electricity bills—specifically an annual savings of around 30%, according to MSN.com.
Check for Leaks
The last thing you want to do is throw your money out the window, and that’s exactly what could be happening if you have areas in your home where air conditioning is escaping. Whether it be a gap between your front door and the threshold or old windows that aren’t totally sealed, air leaks can cost you money. Hardware stores sell weather stripping and caulk, two weapons essential in your fight against a drafty home.
Replace Your Light Bulbs
How many homeowners does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? Just one, so hop to it and start saving. Those old light bulbs give off much more heat than newer, energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, so your air conditioner will get a break. Plus, compact fluorescents last much longer. And when you’re not using a light, remember to turn it off.
Use Ceiling Fans
A ceiling fan can lower the temperature of a room by 1 or 2 degrees, meaning you could use them to take some of the load off your air conditioner. At night, instead of counting sheep, turn on your ceiling fan and count the dollars you’ll save. Then fall asleep and dream of getting that lower electric bill in the mail and running through a beautiful, candy-filled meadow declaring yourself the “Master of Lowering Electric Bills” as it rains bacon-flavored donuts—okay, you get it.
Take the Summer Oven-Free Challenge
Alright, we’ll admit this is a thing we just made up, but it should really be a thing. Your oven is Bowser to your air conditioner’s Mario. Braising that amazing rack of ribs for several hours means your A/C will be fighting to keep your home cool as heat escapes from your oven. This doesn’t mean you have to eat Lucky Charms for every meal: When it’s hot out, expand your cooking skills by using an outdoor grill or a slow cooker, two things that won’t make your air conditioner want to drive off Rainbow Road.
Use Your Appliances Efficiently
There are a lot of ways to cut down energy use on your household appliances. Skip the automatic dry setting on your dishwasher cycle and let your dishes air-dry. Dust or vacuum the coils in the back of your refrigerator to help it run better. Use the cold water setting when doing laundry, and use a clothesline to dry clothes. If you do use the dryer, don’t overload it, and make sure to run it at night when temperatures are cooler.
Done charging your phone? Unplug the charger from the wall until you need it again. Even if a phone charger isn’t hooked up to a phone, it can still draw energy. Same goes for small appliances like coffeemakers and electric razors.
Install low-flow showerheads
Less water to heat means two things: lower electricity costs and a lower water bill. It’s a win-win.
Have any of your own tips? Let us know in the comments.