As we head into the dog days of summer, cooling the home becomes extremely important and costly. Your monthly electric bill suddenly doubles or even triples, if the heat gets really brutal. Add the following tips to the ones we have shared before to help you to tame your energy bill, so that this summer’s heat does not break the bank.
Vent Your Appliances
All of your appliances create heat in some way and this can make your home warmer. Things like your dishwasher, dryer and stove are particularly warm and will force your air conditioner to work harder, costing you money in the process. If it is possible, vent these appliances to the outdoors, and eliminates all this excess heat from your home. The less heat that your home creates, the less your air conditioner will have to work when keeping the house cool.
Switch to CFL Light Bulbs
Surprisingly, switching to compact fluorescent bulbs can lower your energy bill in two ways. For starters, these bulbs use less energy. As a result, they are less expensive to run in your home. Secondly, CFL bulbs give off much less heat than traditional bulbs, which keeps your house cooler. In fact, some estimates state that these bulbs give off 30 percent less heat, ensuring that your home does not get hotter every time you turn on a light.
Downsize Your A/C Unit
In many cases, homes have air-conditioning units that are larger than necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, a quick fix is to purchase a smaller air conditioner that better fits your home. Of course, this will cost you some money initially since you will have to purchase an entirely different unit, but it could save you about 25 percent on your energy bills for the foreseeable future. (Check out if your power company has a rebate program for changing into a more efficient a/c unit.) Whether you decide to downsize or keep your original air conditioner, make sure it receives regular preventative maintenance (i.e. changing filters) so it continues to work at optimal levels. Also, make sure the a/c vents are not covered or blocked by furniture.
Turn it Down
You do not have to keep your air conditioner blasting at full power all day. Turning the unit down while you are at work will save you money and does not sacrifice your comfort level. Many new air conditioners come with a programmable thermostat, which allows you to come up with a customized air-conditioning schedule. In addition, setting the thermostat slightly higher while you are home can save you money. Turning the thermostat up from 73 to 78 degrees can lower your energy bills by about 30 percent.
Close the Blinds
Although you might be tempted to keep your blinds open to let in some natural light during the day, closing them can save you some cash. In fact, closing the blinds can reduce the heat gain in your house by up to 45 percent and this heat gain must be cooled to keep your home comfortable. While you do not have to keep all of your blinds and curtains closed at all times, closing them when the sun is shining directly into an area makes a huge difference. Another plus of closing the blinds is that your couch will keep it’s original color longer.
While you are looking for savings on utilities, also check out this video from the New York Times that shows how Molly Wood, their technology reporter, looks for savings in all her digital products.
Our contributor, James White, is a freelance construction worker and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements. He also enjoys hiking, photography, and improving his own home. Follow him on [email protected]