The warm, humid days of summer can drive up electric bills and take a big bite out of your budget. But if you take control of your energy consumption, you can lower your bill. Here are some tips to conserve energy in your home and put dollars back into your pocket.
Set your thermostat higher.
Air-conditioning your home can account for about half of your electric bill in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat and raise your thermostat to 78 degrees or warmer when you are home, and to 82 degrees when you will be away for at least two hours. You will save about 5% for each degree you add.
Close the blinds.
Shut out the hot sun by keeping your curtains or blinds closed during the warmest part of the day, especially if you have east or west-facing windows. You’ll keep out the heat and avoid making your air-conditioning unit work harder. Put weather stripping along windows and under doors to keep cool air in and warm, humid air out.
Use ceiling fans.
Keep cool with ceiling fans, which make your skin feel three degrees cooler. But contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans do not cool a room, they cool your skin. Leaving a ceiling fan on in an empty room does nothing but add to your bill. Turn off the fan when you leave a room and save up to $7 a month.
Change your filter.
Change your air conditioner’s filter once a month to keep the unit from working harder than it needs to and wasting energy.
Use the dishwasher.
Dishwashers consume about a third of the water used in hand washing dishes. Don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and only run it when it’s full. Let them air dry.
Replace dated showerheads.
New water-saving showerheads also save energy. Water-efficient models have a slower flow, which uses less water. You can save up to $50 of energy costs per year by switching to a new model.
Reduce pool pump use.
If you have a swimming pool, try reducing the amount of time you run your pump. Set your pool pump for six hours in the summer and four hours in the winter. You can save up to $100 per year.
Lower your hot water heater temperature.
Reduce the temperature on your hot water heater from 140 to 120 degrees. If you aren’t going to be home for a month or more, turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker.
Wash only full loads of laundry, because it takes the same amount of energy to wash a large load as a small one. Use cold water and adjust the water level to your load size. Clean the lint screen in your dryer before every load.
The toaster, video game system and computer that you have plugged in all of the time are still using electricity, even if they are not in use. Walk around your house and unplug small appliances and electronics that are not being used.
Take advantage of the nice weather, keep your oven off and your kitchen cooler by cooking on an outdoor grill or with small appliances such as the microwave, toaster oven or crockpot, which use less energy. Look for Energy Star appliances and compare projected energy usage before buying.
Take a few steps to lower your energy use and enjoy savings on your electricity bills this summer.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.