Unless you have a payment plan set up where you pay the same amount every month, summer is generally a dreaded time to get your energy bills. Costs go way up and it’s mostly the cooling system to blame. We have some tips and tricks for you to save on your energy bills, while keeping cool in the summer.
Minimize Using Your Cooling System
I know, I know, I said I was going to give you tips to save money but also keep you cool and using your AC less seems like the exact opposite. I’m not asking you to give it up on really hot days, but there are days where we have it running, and it doesn’t need to be.
Invest in some fans for the days where it’s warm, but you can get away without the AC running. There are a couple of tricks you can use with fans. They are not only good for blowing air onto you, but the backs of them suck hot air out. So, if you don’t want the fan blowing on you, turn it around and it will take the hot air around you and blow it in the opposite direction.
Using this method, you can also control the stream of air in your house by strategically setting up multiple fans. Now, you don’t need to purchase a bunch of fans for this, just two fans can help a lot.
I grew up on the coast of the Northern Atlantic Ocean and the houses there didn’t have air conditioning. The summers were kept cool from the ocean currents. On really hot days, especially when there was no wind, we would put a bowl of ice in front of the blowing fan and that would help to disperse the cooler air.
For optimal usage of your air conditioning in the summer you should have your thermostat set to 78 or higher.
Check Your Windows
Something that is easily overlooked is ensuring that the seals on all of your windows and doors are intact. This will prevent drafts from coming in in the winter, and the heat getting in in the summer, making the air conditioner run longer, and more often.
Close your blinds during the day so that the sun isn’t able to blare in, heating things up inside. The heavier your blinds and drapes, the more the sun will be kept out, and you house will be kept cooler.
Most of the time the temperature, and especially the humidity, drop at night, so it’s a good time to open your windows. Not only will this help cool your place down, but it will also circulate fresh air for you, helping you to get a better sleep. Again, by cooling down the house, you won’t need to use the air conditioner as much.
This one has nothing to do with the air conditioner. While these tips can help you all year long, they become more important in the summertime when your energy bill can be as much as three times the amount it is in the winter, depending on how your home is heated.
In most areas, energy costs differ depending on the time of day. For example, where I live there are three categories: Off-Peak, Mid-Peak, and Peak. And just as you’d assume the Peak timeframe costs more than the Off-Peak frame. Peak hours are generally from mid-morning until about supper time.
This information can help you to plan chores around this. Do your laundry early in the morning or at night. And wash your clothes in cold water as much as you can. Your water heater and dryer are the two appliances in your house that consume the most energy. Air drying your clothes helps, but this isn’t necessarily an option for everyone.
The same rule applies for using your dishwasher, again because of the water heater and the use of the dishwasher, try to utilize this on off-peak hours. Most places also have off-peak pricing all weekend long, so this can help when you need to use your big appliances.
Some small electronics can end up pulling electricity, even when they’re not in use. If you have a bunch of them, it can add up. Turn off your television and cable box when not in use. Unplug items like your toaster, coffee maker, and video game systems when not being used. And, of course, turn off lights in rooms that you are no longer in and use lamps when you can.
Again, each of these small things by themselves isn’t really a problem, but when you start to add them all up, the costs start adding up as well. When you’re going away for vacation unplug all the televisions and cable boxes and you’ll save even more money.
Track and Plan
Track your electricity usage and your energy bills. Make note somewhere of things that are out of the ordinary. If you went away and unplugged everything, you should see a dip in costs. Maybe you see a spike over a few days in February and you remember the cold spell that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
If you track your usage you can know how to plan for future usage. Things might come to mind that wouldn’t normally. Do you have a fireplace that’s just sitting there? Have some wood on hand in case there ends up being a cold snap in the winter, utilize the fireplace to offset some of the added energy costs.
If you notice that around the same time every August there is a bit of a heatwave, take vacation around that time. This way you can unplug all your appliances, adjust your furnace to be above 78, yet you still get to enjoy the coolness of wherever you are staying on vacation.