According to the EIA, U.S. residential energy costs will go up by 2% from the previous summer rates. The tempers seem to rise with the temperatures after seeing the first summer electric bill.
You may feel powerless as you struggle to stay cool and go about your day. Besides yelling at the kids to stop touching the thermostat, there are ways to save in the summer. Learning how to keep the electric bill down in the summer isn’t a secret.
We’ve got nine different ways to make a dent in the summer electric bills.
1. Get a Smarter Thermostat
The first thing you need to do is to replace any aging thermostat that needs constant adjusting. If you’re having to get up every hour or two to adjust the temperature, it’s not working.
Investing in a smarter thermostat, like the Nest, could save you 10-15% on your monthly bill. Those savings quickly add up with the thermostat paying for itself in less than a year.
2. Turn It Off
Get used to your kids giving you an attitude when you tell them to turn off the lights. Turn off any electronic or electrical device when not in use. All of these devices with “sleep mode” settings adds up.
Sure, one or two devices idling for a few bucks a month isn’t a lot. Multiply this figure a few times and now you’re talking $10-20 per summer month. The air condition should always get turned off when you’re away.
3. Is It Energy Star?
All electronics that aren’t Energy Star efficient are probably money drains. Check your air conditioner and find out the SEER rating. This is the rating given by the EPA that tells you how efficient it is.
Energy Star upgrades alone can give you a 15% savings or more. Big electricity hogs, like the fridge, washer/drier, and air conditioner might cost you hundreds each year. Get them checked out by a professional to see how much you could save.
4. Adjust Your Fridge
Because your fridge will naturally need to run harder to keep the inside cooler, double-check the thermostat. Rather than leaving everything on maximum coldness, push the temperature up a notch. This translates to about 5 degrees difference for each setting.
Your food isn’t going to spoil, and you’ll save money during the summer. Another pro tip is to never keep your fridge empty. Every time you open the door, cold air rushes out.
Less air = reduced loss of temperature each time you open.
5. Improve Your Insulation
Your house needs to have as little leaks for air as possible. Every gap, every crack, and every permeable surface is potential energy waste. It is in your best interest to hire an expert to come to look at your insulation.
This includes the stuff inside your walls, the attic, basement, windows, and doors. These are all major sources for cold air to escape. New insulation may become necessary if all other major leaks are covered.
Before that happens, caulking and weather-stripping should get applied to every crack found in the baseboards, window frames, door frames, and plumbing exits.
6. Dust Is Your Enemy
If you have a pet, pay close attention to this tip. Any dust, dander, or loose fabric is a potential trap for hot air. A thin layer of dirt on your air conditioner’s vents increases the work needed to push cold air into the house.
A layer of dust and dander on your AC’s air filter reduces airflow and damages the air handler over time. Dust bunnies in the corners of the house increase the overall temperature. Trust us when we say that maintaining a clean space is key to a cooler summer.
7. When to Open Doors and Windows
There are moments during the summer where the heat dissipates or falls below the melting point. This will come during days of overcast, rain, and sunset. Use these times when the wind is blowing or the sun is down to acquire free air conditioning.
As long as your windows and doors are screened in, you should have no problem reaping the benefits of air flow. Plus, your house needs that fresh air when you’re spending more time in it during the summer.
8. Blackout Days
Find yourself a nice pair of blackout curtains to really give the sun the middle-finger. Blackout curtains help you sleep better or become a vampire. The difference in temperature when compared to blinds/drapes is astonishing.
With proper insulation, these curtains could reduce temperatures by nearly half on the inside.
9. Find a Good Fan
The best way to enhance your rate of cooling inside is through circulation. HVAC vents help circulate air somewhat, but nothing near to that of a ceiling fan. Box fans and oscillating fans are clutches when the AC is dying.
Don’t wait to use them when your AC finally dies, though. Working in tandem with your AC, you can cool the house rapidly. These fans are very energy efficient these days, but remember to check the rating.
Prepare for Your Summer Electric Bill
We know most of these tips you may have heard before, but it’s best to keep them memorized. When that summer electric spike sneaks up on you, don’t panic. Prepare for the heatwave before it happens by inspecting, maintaining, and upgrading.
We can handle any major electric or air conditioning job. We know how to prepare your home for the summer, using a variety of methods. Invest in maintaining your creature comforts now to avoid paying more later for expensive repairs.
Contact us to find out more about planning for huge summer savings.