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Heat Rises. Your Power Bill Doesn’t Have To.June 17th, 2016 by
Summer means longer days and shorter hemlines, but it doesn’t have to mean higher energy bills. Whether you’re looking for a long-term fix or quick tricks to up your efficiency and lower costs, these tips are sure to help you save money while staying cool.
Here are a few home updates that can help you conserve energy and beat the summer heat:
- Install a programmable thermostat—it can save you up to 10 percent on your power bill if used correctly.
- Get your A/C inspected. Dirty filters, leaking coolant, and other problems with your A/C can affect your system’s efficiency. Simple fixes, like new filters, can improve efficiency and lower the impact on your bank account.
- Proper insulation is the gift that keeps on giving. The same logic that keeps your house warm in the dead of winter applies in the dog days of summer. Proper insulation can help increase efficiency and reduce loss of valuable cool air. Sealing doorways and windows can be a great start toward a cool, energy-saving summer.
- Up your curb appeal while lowering your energy costs. Planting natural shade producers, such as shrubs and trees, not only adds curb appeal but also helps naturally cool your home. No electricity required.
If you don’t fancy yourself a handyman, or if you just want to find some easier ways to lower that bill, consider these quick and easy fixes:
- Eliminate energy vampires. Just like the sparkly heartthrobs from those tween sci-fi novels, some of your favorite appliances have a terrible secret: they’re robbing you blind. Be sure to unplug nonessential electronics like game systems and phone chargers when they’re not in use. For bigger, more important appliances, focus on reducing overall energy use.
- Rethink your laundry routine. According to Ecomall, 85 to 90 percent of the energy your washer uses is to heat water. An easy way to minimize costs is to wash clothes on the cold setting whenever possible. When it comes to your dryer, no use is best use. During the summer months, Ecomall recommends that you quit your dryer cold turkey and line dry your clothes instead, which can reduce your energy consumption by up to five percent. If you can’t quit the dryer, make sure to dry clothes in full loads on low settings. It also helps to dry loads one after the other so the machine can reuse heat.
- Pass on the dishwasher. Skip the heated dry setting and dry the dishes by hand this summer. Or, when the wash cycle is complete, shake off the excess water on your dishes and leave the door cracked open to let them air dry.
- Become a fan of fans. While you shouldn’t leave fans running constantly, they use much less energy than your home’s A/C system and promote air circulation. If you have a ceiling fan, running it in the correct direction makes this easy. In the summer, your fan should turn counterclockwise to push hot air up and out; it should turn the opposite direction in the winter.
- Sometimes the best way to outsmart the power company is to go to the source. Many companies charge less for power usage during off-peak hours. Some even offer rewards for responsible energy use. Research your energy provider as well as its competitors to learn about peak and summer pricing.