As summer approaches and the anticipation of no school and beach vacations heats up, so does your electric bill. When temperatures start to climb in the summer months, you start paying more for the electric you need to power your air conditioner or fan. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the typical U.S. residential electricity bill is expected to average $137 per month during the summer. That number dips to a $119 average for the Pacific region and rises to $157 per month in the South.
Summer is the time of year that’s notorious for wasting energy. Things like inefficient air conditioners, poor airflow, and leaky windows can cause energy to escape and utility bills to increase. There are a few simple ways that you can save on your electricity bill. You can even do so without sacrificing your comfort during the sweltering heat of long summer days. Here are five things you can do to start saving on your power bill during the warmer months.
1. Have your AC checked.
One of the biggest energy users during the summer is your air conditioner. Making sure that your machine is running in tip-top shape will help save you money by running efficiently. Hiring a local inspector to come to do an AC inspection will ensure that your AC unit is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible heading into the summer. The service technician will check to make sure that you are getting the most comfort from your system for an appropriate amount of energy usage. The technician should also clean outdoor coils, check voltage connections, and make sure that the refrigerant is at proper levels in your air conditioner. You can also do your part by ensuring that your air vents are clear and that the filters are clean and replaced as needed. An efficiently running AC unit will be your first line of defense for combating high energy bills over the summer.
2. Install a programmable thermostat.
In recent years programmable thermostats have become standard in most homes. The biggest benefit of these types of thermostats is that they can make sure that your AC unit maintains a consistent temperature throughout your house. By keeping your home at a constant temperature, this will help keep your home energy efficient and save you money. A study by Nest concluded that using a programmable thermostat could yield savings in the amount of 15% in cooling costs. Another major benefit to these thermostats is that they allow you to program schedules to set your home to different temperatures at various times of the day and week. This can ensure that you benefit from more energy usage when you are home and need it.
3. Use the ceiling fan.
This might seems obvious, but some homeowners do not use their ceiling fans to their advantage. While ceiling fans might not necessarily cool a room down, they do create a wind that circulates throughout the room and cools you off. Your ceiling fan has two directional settings. During the summer, your ceiling fan should be set to rotate counterclockwise. This will force the air down. If you feel cooler, you will resist the urge to crank up the air conditioner while you are in the room.
4. Reduce the amount of direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight coming into your home through your windows and doors can raise the temperature of your home. By blocking this sunlight, you can put a damper on that effect. Use energy-efficient shades or blinds over your windows to keep the sun out. Planting some shade trees outside of your windows can also curb the amount of sunlight coming into your home and will provide shade over your home to decrease the temperature inside.
5. Use house plants to your advantage.
This one might seem weird, but hose plants could help reduce some of your energy costs. Plants release moisture into the air through the process of transpiration. Surprisingly, this can both cool and warm a room. According to botanists, when plants release moisture into the air in a warm room, it can help reduce the temperature by as much as 10 degrees. This could also have the opposite effect on cooler rooms in the winter. Plants like the flamingo flower not only brighten up your home, they also help you save money!
Despite the rising heat outside during the summer months, your power bill doesn’t have to rise. Following these summer tips will help keep your home cool and comfortable and could ease the hit to your wallet.