Summer is when people break from their routines and try new things. Whether going to the beach, hiking, or hosting summer parties, it’s an exciting time full of opportunities to live it up. Yet many find it surprising that they end up paying more than usual for activities that require more energy use this time of year. They need to learn how these bills stack up in the end. Utility bills can represent a significant cost to families during the summer, with some utilities significantly increasing their rates after this time of year.
1. Use a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats set a temperature at which your heating or air conditioning will turn on and off, depending on your daily habits and outside weather conditions. You’ll want to set it lower in the summer so it won’t turn off when you’re gone for most of the day. Getting a thermostat that lets you override programmed schedule changes if necessary is important.
2. Turning AC down/off when not home
As mentioned above, the longer you leave your AC on, the more it will cost you. To keep it from running when you’re not home, use a programmable thermostat or a timer to turn it off automatically. If you don’t have either of these options, try getting up earlier and adjusting the temperature setting on the thermostat before leaving for work. It’s a small adjustment that can shave a significant amount off your utility bill.
3. Use blinds and curtains to provide extra shade/cooling
If you have a window A/C or other window unit, you can block out the sun with blinds or curtains. It will help to cool the room by keeping it dark and reducing your cooling costs. It will also help to reduce your heating costs. When you use blinds or curtains, ensure that the windows are closed tight and only open when inside the home – not when you’re away for most of the day. It’s important to remember that blinds and curtains are not like a window air conditioner. Cooling the air can still take up to 30 minutes or more. If you have an ultra-efficient window unit, you want to leave them open only briefly when the room is not occupied.
4. Maintenance and clean your AC System
Check your filters at least once monthly to ensure they are clean and dry. Doing this will prevent your system from working harder and wasting energy. Check the filter more often if you have pets, allergies, or asthma in your home. Also, make sure to keep the area around the AC unit itself free of plants (and other debris), leaves, and dust.
5. Change to LED bulbs
LED bulbs are becoming more popular with consumers because they light up as brightly as traditional incandescent bulbs but use up to 75% less energy. It means you can save money by replacing even just a few bulbs. Incandescent lights have a lifespan of about 1,000 hours and need to be replaced yearly, while LEDs last between 25,000 & 50,000 hours and last for up to twenty years. It is important to note that the LED bulb is still just as hot as the incandescent one, so the light must stay out of the eyes.
These five tips will help you keep bills down and save money this summer. It is important to know that the tips above will help you lower your utility bills and get the most out of your AC system.