Summer means sun, warm temperatures, and longer days. Unfortunately for many, it also can mean higher utility bills. With a bit of creativity you can save money without eliminating comfort. Look to these energy saving tips to get you through the warm months – your bank account will thank you!
Throughout the Home
• Ceiling fans allow you to raise the thermostat about 4° Fahrenheit without sacrificing comfort. It’s a low cost way to keep your home a little cooler.
• Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room and save money on your electricity bill; by creating a wind chill effect, fans cool people, not rooms.
• The energy produced from an incandescent light bulb is 85 to 90 percent heat – turn off all unnecessary lights.
• Resist the temptation to set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on the air conditioning; it will not cool your home any faster but will up your energy bill.
In the Bathroom
• Save on energy and hot water usage by taking shorter and cooler showers – a perfect remedy to those hot summer days. Take it up one notch by installing a tankless water heater; this will heat water only when needed.
• One of the most frequently used fixtures in a home is the vanity. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are brighter but use less energy. Bonus – they last longer, which saves you money!
In the Kitchen
• An indoor oven can increase the temperature in your kitchen 5 to 10 degrees, forcing your air conditioner to work much harder. So, turn off the oven and fire up the grill! Using a microwave or toaster oven is also a good alternative.
• On hot days, run major appliances, like your oven or dishwasher, in the early morning or after the sun has started to set.
In the Living Room
• Unplug electronics when not in use. For example, having your computer on all day can cost up to $75 per year. Simply turning off electronics will not stop “vampire power” – power that will continue to be consumed (and up your electricity bill) even when the electronic is not in use. For convenience, plug electronics into a power strip for ease with the flip of a switch.
• Watch your furniture placement. Arranging lamps or a television close to your thermostat will cause your air conditioner to work longer and harder than necessary due to excess heat from the appliances. Make sure your sofa, chairs, and tables do not block your vents for supply and return air.
• Close blinds and windows during the day and keep them open at night. This is the best no-cost way to keep the hot sun out of your home. The inside of your home will feel cooler and your air conditioner will not have to work as hard.
Outside the Home
• Consider planting leafy trees or bushes in spots that will give your home more coverage. Properly placed foliage can save you between $100 and $250 annually.
• Seal up doors or windows by caulking or weather stripping to prevent warm air from leaking into your homes.
• Spend more time outside; the warm summer weather is the perfect time to enjoy being out of the house. Go have a picnic, swim, exercise, bike; spending less time indoors will help reduce your energy bill.
Sources: www.energy.gov; www.freshome.com
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