Summer is almost here. Are you ready for your electricity bill to go up? Some of you may have the kind of plan where they take your yearly average and divide the payments over 12 months. But if you don't, your bank account will be hurting when the temperatures rise! We currently live in south Texas and if I've learned one thing while being here, it's that summer starts in the spring and that winter doesn't really exist. Our electricity bills from April to October are astronomical! Our first summers really knocked us off our feet, but since then we've adopted a few easy tips to help save money.
1. Thermostat Control
I know some people who keep it at around 72 during the day and 76 at night for the summer, and 70 during the day and 68 at night for the winter. It works great for them and they save a lot of money throughout the year. A good rule of thumb is to take your normal, comfortable room temperature and either add or subtract 2-3 degrees, depending on the season.
For example, I'm comfortable during the summer keeping the room at about 72 degrees. This year I'm going to try to keep it at 74 for as long as I can. (Shhhhh, don't tell my husband.)
2. Use a Power Strip
We like to use a power strip to make the turning off of our many devices much easier. There's no hassle to constantly plug and unplug just to save money. Simply turn off the power strip when you're not using it and pocket the extra change while you're at it.
3. Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances
Shop for energy efficient appliances like those with an Energy Star sticker. We used to have an old dryer that was long past it's prime. It would take over an hour to dry the smallest of loads!
We felt we were saving money by avoiding the cost of a new one but it was actually costing us a fortune in utility bills. If I could go back in time, I would scrap the old dryer ASAP and buy a new one. It would have been less frustrating to deal with and would have saved me money.
4. Install Tile or Hardwood
Installing a hardwood or tile may be cheaper than carpet, depending on the brand, type, and quality you buy. From experience I can tell you that tile will keep you much cooler in the summer months than carpet. Maybe our insulation is lacking but I swear our air conditioner runs continuously from spring to fall since all the rooms now have carpet. We never had that problem before when everything was primarily tile.
5. Lightbulbs vs. Sun
Invest in energy efficient light bulbs (like compact fluorescent lightbulbs) to save money in the long run for all of your indoor lighting. Use solar powered lights for all of your outdoor needs. The sun doesn't cost you dime, for crying out loud. Take advantage of it!
6. Change Your Filters
Change your air filter once a month for the most efficient use. And make sure you install it the right way! If placed in the wrong direction, the filter will clog and over-work the motor. This will only increase the amount of energy used and defeat the whole purpose of changing it. (*cough* Speaking from experience, yet again.)
7. Clean Your Appliances
A dusty dryer or refrigerator will only run harder and cost you more money. Be sure to dust and vacuum those coils, exhaust ducts, and lint filters at least twice a year. No, it's not a fun job and your allergies may act up because of it. But isn't it worth a lower utility bill?
Don't let your summer electricity bill get too high! You can help keep costs under control by implementing these tips so you don't suffer in the heat. Controlling the temperature in the house is a good place to start. And don't forget to turn off the electricity flow with anything you're not using.
Energy efficient appliances will really help your laundry time and your bills go down. While you're busy installing them, be sure to install a hard surface flooring as well. The coolest home we ever lived in was mostly tile. The rent was cheap too, by the way, so those were the good ole days!
Lastly, let the free sun do the brightening of your home if you can swing it. And a clean, well-filtered appliance will run the most efficiently. It also gives you the perfect excuse to buy a brand new dishwasher. You're saving all of this money on electricity so you can now afford it!
How are you preparing your home for the hot summer months? What tricks do you use to keep your utility bills low?