A longer and hotter-than-usual summer has taken its toll on energy bills.  Not only is demand up, but electric rates are trending higher as well.  Short of taking a trip to Australia where August is their last month of winter, what can homeowners do to stay cool and still keep the bills under control?

Low cost ideas –

  • Make sure your washing machine runs with full loads, and use cold water if possible.
  • Dry some of your clothes outdoors if you can, and save some dryer time.
  • Make sure your dishwasher runs with a full load, and when the cycle ends, open the door and let the dishes air dry.
  • Try to use more microwave recipes, cold meals like salads, and your BBQ grill, instead of using your stove and oven which heat up the house.
  • Check your refrigerator and be sure it is set between 36 degrees and 38 degrees F.  Set your freezer temperature between  0 to 5 degrees F.
  • Close draperies and blinds on windows when the sun is shining on them.
  • Check to be sure windows and doors are closed when the air conditioning is on.
  • Turn of unused lights, the TV, and computers, especially during the hottest times of the day.
  • Electronic devices can still use power even when they are not in use.  Consider unplugging them or put them on a power strip that you can turn off.  Unplug chargers when the device reaches full charge.
  • Set the thermostat higher when you are away from home.  When you are at home try raising the thermostat a degree or two and see if ceiling fans can help keep your space comfortable.

Moderate cost ideas –

  • Consider changing your air conditioner’s filter more often to be sure the air flow is good.  Also clean the evaporator and condenser coils regularly.
  • Check for leaks around doors, windows, and duct work.  Sealing leaks and weather stripping save energy in summer as well as in winter.
  • Consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED’s which can use 75-80 percent less energy and last much longer.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat.