With summer’s heat comes the stress of trying to pay the cost of keeping cool.
Let’s face it, those energy bills can be pricey. The typical American family spends about $2,000 a year on home utility bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
That agency estimates you can save up to 25% of on your utility costs with simple no-cost and low-cost ways to save energy — steps as simple as turning down the thermostat on the hot water heater to 120 degrees.
We’ve put together a number of ways, in no particular order, to cut energy bills and still keep cool this summer:
1. Turn off appliances, lights and electronics when not in the room. Not only will that conserve electricity, but it will also make the room cooler, as items like laptops, lights and computers can give off heat.
2. Unplug electronics or invest in power strips that cut the electricity off. When left plugged in, electronics can still suck down energy — often referred to as vampire energy loss.
3. Air dry clothes and take advantage of the summer sun. Hanging clothes to air dry will save energy from running the clothes dryer. For that matter, air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s drying cycle.
4. When running the air conditioner, make sure doors and windows are closed to get the most out of the cooling system. Just as you wouldn’t leave a window open in the middle of winter, leaving windows open when the AC on defeats the purpose of running the system and wastes energy. If you own your home, check the seals around the windows and doors and repair any leaks to save the most energy.
5. Turn up the thermostat or program it to a higher temperature during the work day when people are not at home. If the house has a programmable thermostat, set it to start cooling the house about an hour before the family arrives home for the day. The California Energy Commission estimates a consumer can save 1% to 3% of a summer’s electric bill for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees.
6. Draw those curtains and shut the blinds. Blocking out the sun from streaming into house will keep rooms cooler.
7. Avoid using the stove and heating up the house. Try cooking with the microwave or, if your budget allows it, eat out or get takeout during heat waves.
8. Install a whole house fan to pull cool air in during the night and early morning hours to save on air conditioning costs. The fan is installed in the attic and draws cool air in and pushes the hot air out of the house through the attic vents. A consumer can save up to 5% of a summer’s energy spending by using a whole house fan.
9. Take short, cool showers instead of baths or hot showers to save on hot water.
10. Unplug the beverage refrigerator, if you have one, and don’t really need it.
Do you have any tips or tricks to save money on summer electric bills? Share them with us.