Having just finished a long and cold winter where we probably used the central heat or furnace in our house a whole lot, Americans are looking forward to opening up their windows and getting some fresh air this spring. I love spring for many reasons, but a big reason is that I get to turn off my heat and A/C for a while, enjoy the fresh air and see a cheaper electric bill. But with summer comes a new spike in our electric bills. There are ways though you can keep your bill down and we want to share these ‘cheat codes’ with you today!
Give Your Air Conditioner A Check Up
Over time, your system will need a check up. They get used quite often throughout the year and when they work at their highest efficiency, you’ll reap the benefits in a lower electric bill. Hiring a professional company to come to your home and service your system at least once a year is recommended. Dust accumulates over time and leaks can emerge in pipes and lines that only a professional will find in a scheduled service. Changing the air filter frequently helps your air conditioner’s efficiency greatly, and keeps nasty things out of the air that go into your lungs!
Follow The Energy Star
If you’re in the market for new appliances one of the main things you should consider is their Energy Star rating. The higher the rating the better it is for the ‘health’ of your electricity bill. Replacing older appliances with newer ones is also recommended if you can fit it in your budget. For example, washing machines built before 2003 do some significant damage to your wallet, whereas most new washers use about 25% less energy and 40% less water than older models.
Use Ceiling Fans More
You would be amazed at how many people treat their ceiling fans as purely ornamental, or an accent piece for a room. We know that they don’t affect the room temperature, but the wind chilling effect they create goes a long way to cooling us down. They also use significantly less energy with prolonged use than an air conditioner does. Just make sure to turn fans off when you leave the room.
Invest In Insulation
While newer homes tend to have better or at least newer insulation than older homes do, it can’t be underestimated how effective good insulation is in reducing energy bill expenses. Insulation goes to work all year, it traps heat in during the winter and keeps the air cooler for longer in the summer.
Grill More Often
There is nothing more nostalgic than grilling on a hot summer night. It’s just something Americans love to do. Apart from the food tasting awesome when it comes off a grill, it’s also far better for your home and subsequent electric bill.
Your kitchen oven leaks heat that might be somewhat welcome in colder months, but won’t be in the summer. Your home’s air conditioner (if it’s run by a digital thermostat) will likely turn on if the oven’s heat leaks enough to raise the temperature.
Turn Appliances Off
This is a pretty simple tip and something many of our parents would have drilled into us as kids. Appliances that you don’t regularly use don’t need to be connected all the time. Air conditioners don’t need to run in rooms that no one goes into and that fancy rechargeable Bluetooth speaker probably doesn’t need to be charging for days on end. If you are going away on a holiday, consider unplugging appliances like the TV, computers and others around the kitchen. Leave the fridge on though!
Block The Sun Out
Buying heavier drapes that block out the sun entering through windows does a lot of good in lowering the temperature of a room. Blinds and drapes that block the sun out might be expensive but they work really well. Some studies have shown that heat in a room is reduced by over 40% with these additions.
Take Note Of Peak Usage Times
Finally, certain states in the US may raise their costs during what they deem peak energy periods. Using a washing machine, dryer or dishwasher before 11am and after 7pm can go a long way in reducing your energy bill costs. The hottest hours of the day are usually between 11am - 7pm, hence the prices of energy can surge during these hours.