I don’t know about you, but my energy bills always seem to rise along with the warm summer temperatures. Over the years, I’ve gathered a variety of methods for keeping my energy costs down during the summer months, and making sure that my bills don’t break the bank.
Here are 5 tried and true (and new!) methods for saving money on your house bills this summer:
1. Clean filters: If you want your air conditioner to run as efficiently and inexpensively as possible, be sure to put “clean filters” at the top of your to-do list.
Dirty filters are a surefire way to block your air conditioner’s airflow and reduce the system’s efficiency. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Clean your filter and you can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
While some filters are reusable, most must be replaced. If you must purchase filters, look for them at places like Home Depot or Lowes, and don’t go for the very cheapest ones. Look for deals by purchasing multi-packs.
Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is subjected to dusty conditions or you have pets.
2. Insulate: Here’s a good mantra: Find the leaks! Insulation keeps the heat in during the winter, and keeps the cool air in during the summer. Insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs as much as 20 percent, according to Energy Star.
If you are just getting started, I would definitely suggest starting in the attic. Attic temperatures can soar to 140 degrees or higher in the summer. That heat will radiate down into your home. Insulation can stop that flow of heat and keep your main living space cooler in summer. You may also consider installing an attic fan.
3. Shade those windows: While shades and blinds don’t reduce air leakage, they can still help save energy. Awnings can reduce solar heat caused by direct sunlight. Consider installing adjustable or retractable awnings so that sun is allowed to warm the house in cooler months.
Interior blinds can’t do much to control heat gain, but the fact that their slats can be adjusted helps control both light and ventilation. When completely closed on a sunny day, the U.S. Energy Department estimates highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by approximately 45 percent.
4. Invest in a smart thermostat: Another way to save is to set your thermostat to a high setting in the summer, especially if you aren’t home. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Programmable thermostats have the potential to save enormous amounts of energy. Unfortunately, most users don’t program their programmable thermostats, leading the government to exclude the devices from its Energy Star program.
Never fear, there’s a cool new thermostat available that can actually do the thinking for you. The Nest features a simple dial that allows you to set the temperature you want; the $250 thermostat will learn your schedule as it goes. In about a week, it’s able to track your habits and programs itself. The Nest can also be controlled remotely, via smartphone or laptop.
5. Turn off, unplug: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average household spends $100 a year on devices that are plugged in, but not being used. This includes small appliances like toasters and coffee makers as well as larger gadgets like computers and TV’s. If you really want to be energy conscientious, then consider unplugging these items.
Do you have any good tips for saving on your energy bill? Please comment below!