How to save on your energy bills over the summer
The long days and warm temperatures of summer are a welcome change after a long winter. Unfortunately, this shift in the seasons often comes with a significant increase in energy bills. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, in 2015, the average American family spent $405 on electricity during the summer.
Cooling costs are responsible for more than 50% of energy costs during the summer. These four easy to follow tips can help you reduce energy bills this summer.
- Turn off the AC when you don’t need it
Most of us leave our air conditioning on all summer – including when the weather is mild enough that we don’t need it. Save money by adjusting the thermostat when you leave the house in the morning; for every degree you raise the thermostat, you can expect to save 4-8% on cooling costs. Likewise, on the days when the temperatures are mild, try turning off the system entirely. Instead, open windows and rely on natural ventilation to keep your home comfortable.
- Invest in a smart thermostat
Programmable thermostats are an energy-efficient tool that allow you to have more control over the temperature in your home. Many smart thermostats allow you to create a schedule for heating and cooling your home; thermostats can be programmed to increase temperatures during the day, lower them again in the evening before you return home, and maintain an even temperature on weekends. Likewise, many new smart thermostats can be linked to an app on your smartphone, allowing you to remotely control the temperature no matter where you are.
- Clean out your vents
While adjusting the temperature can help save on cooling costs, air conditioning systems need to be regularly maintained in order to run efficiently. Cleaning vents, coils, and fins at least once per year can ensure your unit can function effectively. Filters should also be replaced three to four times per year. Replacing an old, dirty filter with a new, clean one can lower energy consumption by 5-15%.
- Block out the sun
Sunshine streaming in through the windows helps our homes feel bright and airy. Unfortunately, the summer sun can also cause the inside of your home to heat up. Invest in blinds and drapes that block the sun’s rays, particularly on windows that face either east or west. Blinds can help reduce heat gain on a sundrenched window by up to 45%, while drapes can reduce heat gain by 33%.