9 Ways to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bills
Looking for ideas to lower the cost of your summer electricity bills is smart. The summer heat can easily burn up your budget with high energy bills. Increasing the efficiency of the systems in your home, practicing some energy conservation, and updating some features of your home can help to save you money.
In the Texas summer we experience some very hot days. With multiple days of temperatures above one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important to take care of your health and safety in the heat. That can mean taking care of your home and making sure that it is running efficiently.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to save on your summer energy bills:
Energy Efficiency to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bills
Using your energy efficiently is the best way to reduce your summer electricity bills. Keeping the cool air inside your home and the warm air out is about more than just your AC unit. Some upgrades, maintenance, and thoughtful habits can increase energy efficiency in your home.
Don forget that the IRS offers tax credits for making some of these energy efficiency upgrades to your home.
1. Have you HVAC Serviced
Making sure that your HVAC system is running efficiently should be on your spring cleaning checklist, so that it is primed and ready before the Summer months. Changing your air filters every 3-6 months as recommended for your HVAC can not only reduce allergens in your home, but it can improve the efficiency of your unit. Change your air filter regularly, and call a reputable HVAC specialist to check your unit once a year.
2. Better Insulation
One of the best ways to keep your home cool, is having quality insulation in your walls and attic. Consider upgrading the insulation in your home to lower your summer electricity bills, and your winter gas/electric bills. According to the EPA, homeowners can save an average of 15% on annual heating and air conditioning costs by adding insulation to your attic and accessible crawl spaces.
3. Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are two functional places in your home that can allow air to flow inside when you want it to, but also when you don’t. Some estimates detail that windows and doors can be responsible for 25% to 30% of the heat gain in your home during the summer time. Replacing the cracked or deteriorating weather stripping around your doors and windows can help lower your summer electricity bills.
You could also potentially save money on your energy costs by upgrading the quality of your windows or doors themselves. New windows and doors are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This type of investment in upgrading your home can have long term energy cost savings.
4. Close the Blinds and/or Curtains
One of the most simple ways to reduce the heat coming into your home during the summertime is to keep the blinds and/or curtains closed during direct sunlight hours. Letting some sunshine in during the morning can be nice. However, the afternoon rays on the southern and western sides of your home can significantly heat up the inside temperatures. Some quality blinds or curtains can help reduce the energy needed to cool your home during the summer afternoons and evenings.
5. Shade the South Side of the House
Living in the northern hemisphere means that we get more sunlight on the Southern sides of our homes. During the summer the difference in temperatures in the shade and direct sunlight can be surprising. The surfaces in the shade can be up to twenty degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than those in the summer sunlight.
Consider planting trees or bushes that will provide shade to the southern side of your home. Install awnings or outdoor shutters to keep southern facing windows cooler.
Energy Conservation to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bills
Being strategic about your energy usage can help to reduce the cost of your electric bills. Make a plan to conserve energy to lower your summer electricity costs.
Using large appliances in your home with energy conservation in mind can save you more money than you think. How, and sometimes when, you use your appliances can make some difference in your summer energy costs.
- Oven – Don’t bake during the hottest part of the day.
- Washing Machine – Wash a large load of laundry in cold water less often, rather than several smaller loads of laundry daily.
- Dryer – Dry smaller loads of laundry at a time, and try to hang-dry as many articles of clothing as possible.
- Dish Washer – Wash larger loads or dishes less frequently, rather than a few dishes at a time.
- Refrigerator and Freezer – Don’t leave refrigerator or freezer doors open for long periods of time. While it may be tempting to cool down in the blast of refrigerated air, these appliances are not designed to cool a space any larger than the closed compartments inside them.
- Water Heater – Turn the holding temperature down on your water heater a little during the summer months.
There is a lot of technology in our homes. We may not realize how much we have plugged in.
Desktop computers, entertainment systems, radios/bluetooth speakers, and some other technologies continue to use electricity even when we aren’t using them. Consider unplugging some or all of these things while they aren’t currently in use.
The same is true for small appliances, chargers, and everyday tools that we plug in. Don’t leave your toaster, bender, coffee maker, hair dryer, vacuum, or wax warmer plugged into the wall. Even if the switch is turned off, they can use a small amount of energy while they are plugged in. Small amounts of energy can add up quickly throughout the month. Save money on your electricity bills by making it a habit to unplug items that are not currently in use.
8. Set Your Thermostat
The largest cost of driving up your electricity bill is most likely the air conditioner. Making sure that it is running efficiently is the first step, but adjusting the settings to run conservatively is equally important to your energy costs.
Set your thermostat to keep you home a consistent temperature during the day and night. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. You can turn the temperature down at night to sleep more comfortably if needed.
9. Use Fans and Stay Hydrated
Your HVAC system can do it’s best to keep your home at a cooler temperature during the summer, but it can be expensive to expect it to do all of the heavy lifting. Using a fan to cool your personal space is more budget friendly than cooling down the entire house.
Hydrating your body is crucial to your health in the heat of the summer. A glass of ice water can help you stay cool and potentially reduce your energy bill. Learn more about taking care of your body during the summer heat in one of our previous articles.
During the summer months keeping cool and keeping your energy bills low involves making decisions. There are steps you can take to improve the efficiency of keeping your home cool by making updates. You can also consider your energy usage habits as an important part of your plan to lower your summer electricity bills.
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