Once the snow melts, you might think you’re free and clear of high energy bills, but think again. Depending on where you live and how high the mercury climbs, you may be facing even higher energy bills during the summer.
And even if your spring and summer energy bills aren’t as high as in the winter, there are still many ways to lower your electricity bill. Who really wants to spend more money than they have to, anyway?
18 Tips for a Lower Electricity Bill
There are many ways to save money on electric bills no matter how you use electricity and what you’re able to customize in your home. Take a look at the list below to see which tips may just save you money during the warmer months:
1. USE PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS
Cooling your house is by far one of the biggest energy expenses when outdoor temperatures rise, but also one of the easiest ways to save electricity. Save up to 10 percent on your yearly heating and cooling bill by installing a programmable thermostat and scheduling it to automatically turn down your home’s temperature by seven to 10 degrees while you’re at work each day.
2. SET YOUR THERMOSTAT AS HIGH AS COMFORTABLY POSSIBLE
If you’re not able to get a programmable thermostat, the next best thing is to set it as high as comfortably possible—especially while you’re out of the house. That way, your air conditioning won’t have to kick on until absolutely necessary.
3. CLOSE BLINDS ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF YOUR HOME DURING THE DAY
Sunlight passing through windows creates radiant heat that can turn any room into an oven. Before you leave for the day close your blinds and drapes on any windows that receive direct sunlight to avoid getting cooked when you arrive home.
4. USE AWNINGS AND SOLAR WINDOW SCREENS
No one wants to live as a shut-in with the blinds closed all the time. Invest in awnings and solar screens to reduce the amount of direct radiant heat passing through the windows while still enjoying some sunshine.
5. PLANT (OR DON’T PRUNE) TREES
Trees make great natural sunscreens. If you don’t have any trees near your house, think about planting some (especially near sunny windows). If you already have trees near your home, avoid trimming them beyond what’s necessary. They’ll spread out and soak up the sun so your home doesn’t have to.
6. OPEN WINDOWS AT NIGHT
This is one of the best ways to take advantage of nature’s free air conditioning. Plus, you’ll air out your house with nice, fresh air—assuming you don’t live next to a landfill. Just remember to close the windows in the morning before the temperature starts climbing again!
7. USE FANS INSTEAD OF AIR CONDITIONING (AC) UNITS
Fans require much less energy than an AC unit to keep you cool. For example, a standard central air conditioning unit costs about $150 per month to operate, while a simple box fan costs around $4.40. Even if you had several fans running at once, it wouldn’t stack up anywhere near as high as the AC unit.
8. TUNE UP YOUR AC UNIT ONCE A YEAR
Getting your AC unit tuned isn’t that expensive: around $80-$100. In return, your machine will operate at its highest efficiency, which means it’ll be switching on less often. As a bonus, you’ll shell out for repairs less often down the road, and your unit will last longer.
9. CHECK AND CLEAN YOUR AC FILTERS QUARTERLY
Here’s a simple air conditioning tip: learn how to check your air filters (it’s not hard) and do it quarterly. It’s a lot harder to move air through a solid wall of dust and debris, so regularly replacing your filters could reduce your unit’s electricity consumption by 5-15 percent. Plus, you’ll likely stay healthier because you’ll be breathing clean air.
10. COOK WITH A CROCK POT, PRESSURE COOKER, OR MICROWAVE INSTEAD OF AN OVEN
Crock pots and microwaves are really just like mini-ovens… but better when it comes to energy savings. They not only save electricity, but also put off less heat for your AC unit to handle.
11. INSTALL A RANGE HOOD TO PROPERLY VENTILATE YOUR KITCHEN
Cooking on the stove produces a lot of heat. A proper range hood—one that actually dumps air outside the home—will remove the cooking smoke, smells and heat right along with it. Now you can fry fish and stay cool!
12. LINE-DRY YOUR CLOTHES
Machine-drying your clothes comes with an annual price tag of around $100. The good news? You can reduce (or even eliminate) this cost by line-drying your clothes, either outside or even on a folding indoor drying rack.
13. LET DISHES AIR-DRY
It takes a lot of energy to crank up the heater in your dishwasher. Instead, run the cycle without the heated dry cycle. Then crack open the door just a bit to let the dishes air-dry while still retaining the heat inside.
14. USE LED BULBS INSTEAD OF INCANDESCENT ONES
Not only do LED bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy to operate, but they also keep your home cooler by not putting off as much heat. Plus, they last 25 times longer.
15. INSTALL SOLAR PANELS
What better way to lower electricity bills than by getting your energy from the sun, itself, rather than an expensive power plant? Check with your local utility service and government; many offer financial incentives to install solar panels.
16. TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR WATER HEATER
Surprisingly, one of the biggest energy drains is heating up the water in your home. It accounts for about 18 percent of your electricity bill. Lowering the temperature from 140º to 120º can save you up to 22 percent annually on your electricity bill. If you have a dishwasher without a booster heater, however, consider keeping the temperature the same so it cleans effectively.
17. CLOSE THE DAMPER ON YOUR FIREPLACE
Make a mental note to close the damper after each and every fire, even in winter. Summer isn’t the time to burn fires in your home, anyway!
18. REPLACE WORN APPLIANCES WITH ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES
Older models of electrical appliances aren’t as efficient as newer ones, and by replacing them as they break with newer Energy Star appliances, you can save a ton of electricity. For example, you could save $135 per year by using a new Energy Star washer instead of an outdated model.
Summer doesn’t have to come with sky-high energy bills. If you follow these tips, even if only a few, to lower electricity bills, you’ll have more money left over in your pocket to go out and enjoy the bright summer days.