For most families, summer is a time of the year when they see their electric bills spike. Of course, the air conditioner is one of the biggest culprits of this increase in energy usage. Just a few degrees higher in temperature outside means that your air conditioner is working harder to keep the indoors comfortable; next thing you know, you get a (not-so) nice surprise in your electric bill.
There are, however, ways to save money on your electric bill this summer.
- Keep your air cooling system in top shape – Be sure to have your air conditioner and/or cooling system inspected before the hot temperatures arrive. This will ensure that it will be operating at peak efficiency. Be sure to check your air conditioner’s filter and change it regularly throughout the summer. The unit has to work extra hard when the filter is dirty.
You may need to install a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to constantly mess with the temperature in your residence. There are even self-regulating models that learn your home and away patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly.
- Install air conditioners in the warmest rooms – This may seem like a no-brainer, but individual air conditioning units in the warmest rooms of the house can help save money. Older homes especially have one or two rooms that don’t cool off as well as the rest of the house. Use the unit when you’re in the room and turn it off when you leave again.
- Take advantage of ceiling fans – Ceiling fans can go a long way in keeping your cooling costs lower this summer. When used properly, ceiling fans can save you as much as 40 percent! Make sure the ceiling fan is running in a counterclockwise direction in the summer to keep the cool air circulating. Only use it when in the room, and turn it off when you leave.
- Check around your windows – Windows can be a major outlet of cool air in the summer. In order to minimize your loss, make sure to check for leaks and cracks around windows and doors. Caulk or insulating foam can be used to fill the gaps. Also consider keeping blinds and curtains closed to minimize sunlight coming in through windows.
- Cut down on using appliances – Appliances around the house have a tendency to make the temperature inside creep up. Two popular culprits are the oven and clothes dryer. You might want to hang your clothes outside to dry during the summer and plan your meals so that you don’t have to use the oven as much.
Although it takes some effort, cutting down on energy costs in the summer means extra money for other things. You can use your savings to splurge on an exciting family activity or road trip!