Summer means heat, and for the luckier families out there, heat means turning on the air conditioning and ceiling fans. That and other, subtler, energy pulls can skyrocket your utility bills during these months. Consider these tips to lower your energy bills, often painlessly, all summer long.
1. Replace Your Air Filters
Dirty air filters require more energy to pull air through them. Cleaning or replacing them means faster air flow and lower energy draw from your central air. It also means cleaner air throughout your house — a real benefit during pollen-heavy months.
2. Open Your Windows Early
Open the windows on the west side of your house in the wee hours when outside air is still cool. Keep them open until things heat up. This means your air conditioning doesn’t work so hard to establish comfortable temperatures at the beginning of the day.
3. Use the Microwave
Your microwave is the most energy-efficient cooking appliance in your home, unless you’re using a gas stove. The microwave also throws the least excess heat — meaning it doesn’t force your air conditioning into a game of “dueling appliances” as you cook.
4. Lower Your Blinds
Covering your windows keeps the sunlight out, and your home cooler, than leaving the windows open all day. Open windows and lowered blinds can create a comfortable cross breeze, especially with windows also open on the shady side of your house. This is especially important with skylights, since they receive the most direct sunlight of any window in your home.
5. Line Dry Your Clothes
Use the world’s first “solar powered clothes dryer” during summer months. Your dryer represents about 5 percent of your electrical bill on average, and it throws off a lot of excess heat. If you don’t have a clothesline in your back yard, you can make one with $5 worth of rope.
6. Seal Up the Leaks
Caulk up any drafty spots in your home. Weather-strip the windows and doors. Install those foam gaskets behind your outlet covers. Drop in extra insulation in the hottest rooms of your home. These projects cost a little money, but can drop your energy bill by up to 2 percent…and they’ll continue to do so during cold winter months.
7. Buy Food In Bulk
Your fridge fights the summer heat just as much as your air conditioning does. Filling it with cold food helps it maintain its temperature the same way lots of ice in a cooler melts more slowly than a little ice.