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.