10 Tips to Lower Your Home's Electric Bill This Summer
For many Americans, summertime means pool parties and grilling outside, but that warm weather can also mean increased utility bills for your home. You’re likely running the air conditioner more, staying inside longer, and you may also have kids home from school during the day. If you are tired of high electric bills throughout the summer months, then there are some simple changes you can make to help use less energy. This means savings for you!
Know Where to Start
If you’re serious about lowering the electricity bill for your home, you should start by getting familiar with your own habits. Track your monthly energy usage and take note of the changes you make month-to-month so you can better understand how your actions can impact your electric bill. This will help you establish a baseline for what to expect.
Pro-Tip: Your energy company may already be sending this information to you on a regular basis. If not, reach out to them and ask them to start providing usage reports for your home.
10 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Home Energy Use
As you begin tracking your own energy usage, you’re bound to notice some patterns and maybe even identify some of your own habits that are contributing to the problem. Whether that becomes the case or not, these 10 tips may help you save on your electric bill this summer.
1. Clean and Maintain Your AC Unit and Vents
Your AC unit is likely the most significant reason for a higher energy bill in the summer. Luckily, there are ways to increase efficiency and cut back on use. It all starts by making sure your unit is properly cleaned and maintained. Be sure to check and replace filters, keep your unit clean, and schedule yearly maintenance to maintain an efficient home AC.
2. Check Your Home’s Insulation
No matter how well your AC is running, your home needs to be well-insulated to keep the cold air inside. Proper insulation can go a long way in lowering your bill by helping keep your home cooler for longer. Make sure you have adequate insulation throughout your home. Start with your attic and work your way down.
Pro-Tip: If you need to purchase insulation for your home, you may be eligible for tax credits. Some utility companies also offer incentives for making energy-efficient upgrades to your home.
3. Find and Repair Cracks and Leaks
Another way to help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home is sealing up those spaces where cool air may be escaping. Walk around the perimeter of your home, both inside and out, to see if you can feel any areas where there might be air seeping through. Inspect window seals and door frames and apply new caulking and sealant where it’s needed. You may be surprised to learn just how far sealing up problems like this can go towards reducing your energy bill.
4. Switch to a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats report saving users as much as 30% on heating and cooling bills. These thermostats are able to do so by adjusting the temperature – which direct affects how much energy is being used – according to the homeowner’s personal usage habits. For example, if no one is at home during the day time, you can save energy by leaving your thermostat set at a higher temperature during those hours but switching to something more comfortable when you expect to be home. Depending on which option you choose, your thermostat may also be able to offer some additional money-saving suggestions that go beyond temperature control.
5. Don’t Underestimate Your Ceiling Fans
Using ceiling fans is an effective way to keep air circulating throughout your home without using a lot of energy. This will enable you to run your AC less and will also help with pushing cooler air farther than your AC vents could on their own.
Pro-Tip: During the summer months, you should set your fans to run counter-clockwise so that they blow air down rather than sucking air upward.
6. Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Newer LED bulbs can help you drastically reduce the amount of energy used to light your home. These bulbs can also last far longer than traditional bulbs and may even emit less heat depending on which type of bulb you had historically used. LED bulbs tend to cost a bit more up front but there’s no denying the positive impact they can have on your home energy consumption.
7. Upgrade Your Appliances
Large home appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and water heaters can be significant contributors to your home's total energy usage. If your home appliances are older, they may be using even more electricity than they need. Upgrading to Energy Star appliances can cut back on costs and may even make your home more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell. Your local utility provider may also offer special incentives to help offset some of the initial costs as well.
Pro-Tip: You don’t have to saddle yourself with the cost of replacing all your large appliances at one time. Make a plan for replacing them one at a time if possible, and stagger the process across a 5 – 10 year period as your budget allows.
8. Use Your Landscaping Strategically
Did you know that your landscaping can help reduce the energy being used inside your home? Planting trees in front of west-facing windows, for example, can help with blocking harsh direct sunlight in the afternoon.
9. Wear Light, Breathable Clothing
It may sound simple, but wearing light, breathable clothing at home can make a big difference in your energy usage. It helps you to stay cool even with the inside temperature raised by a few degrees. This may not seem like much, but over time a few degrees can help cut back on energy use significantly in your home.
10. Cook Outside
Did you know that your oven is one of the most resource-intensive appliances in your home? Not only does your oven require a lot of energy, but it can also heat up the environment around it. Much of the work you do to cool your house can be swiftly undone by running your oven, even for just a short period. Cooking outside can help you be more energy efficient, and, with a positive attitude, can also be a great family activity.
Get Your Home Ready for Summer
These are just a handful of simple, cost-saving tips that may help you enjoy smaller electric bills this summer. However, many of them still have some upfront cost that may not be in your short-term budget. Not to worry! First Service is here to help.
If you own your home, you may be able to use a low-rate home improvement loan to help make the necessary repairs or upgrades to get your home ready for summer. Give us a call today at (713) 676-5255 to speak with a friendly, knowledgeable loan advisor about whether this might be right for you.