Now that summer has arrived, so will increased electricity bills. My family will be the first to tell you that I often follow them around turning off lights and unplugging items around the house. Air conditioning sure can eat up electricity forcing bills to skyrocket during the summer months. So, if you are looking to keep those electricity bills within reason, here are a few tips for lowering your electricity bills:
First and foremost, shop different energy plans to make sure you are getting the best deal. In most states now electricity is deregulated which means that customers can shop different energy providers. Companies such as Ignite (a division of Stream Energy) will supply your energy generation to you at a lower cost than most utility companies. Some companies will fix your bill rates for a set period of time or lower rates during off-peak hours. If you take advantage of these plans just make sure you are cautious in case you use more energy than you anticipate.
Clean or change your air filters. Dirt and dust will inhibit the flow of air through your home. Depending on the type of air filters in your home, make sure they have been changed or cleaned. If you use individual window units for rather than central air conditioning, those units likely have filters too.
While you are at it, make sure that your air conditioning system is working properly. Having a professional come to check your air conditioning will cost you, but it will be worth the savings on your electricity bill to know that your unit is operating at full efficiency.
Now that your units are working properly, look for drafty areas to make sure that you are not losing cool air through cracks in window or door frames. You can go around the house and check for any drafty areas, which can be easily sealed up using either caulk or weather stripping. Most people think that caulk and weather stripping is only important during the winter months, but they are equally important in summer.
If your home lets in a lot of daylight through the windows, close the shades or blinds during the day. This will reduce the heat coming into your home, keeping it naturally cooler and giving your air conditioning unit a break.
If you leave your house during the day, your air conditioning unit does not have to work at full blast during those hours. Lower the temperature on your thermostat or unit while you are not at home for less air conditioning usage and a lower electric bill.
Consider installing ceiling fans to make the rooms in your home feel cooler with a breeze. Fans generally use less electricity than air conditioning units. Since fans do run on electricity, it’s important to remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
Depending on where you live, it may be cool enough to shut off the air conditioning and open the windows overnight. Not only will this reduce your electricity bill but it will bring a relaxing fresh breeze of air through your home.
A great tip for all year round is to unplug items when they are not in use. Washers and dryers use a large amount of electricity when plugged in, even when they are not being used. Unplug chargers once your mobile device is fully charged. Also, consider buying power strips for outlets that house your televisions, cable boxes, computers, printers and fax machines as these items use substantial power and create heat even when they are not in use.
Speaking of those daytime hours, try not to use heat generating appliances during the hottest hours of the day. They could cause the temperature in your home to rise and therefore keep the air conditioning unit running for longer than necessary. Consider drying your clothes and washing your dishes in the night time hours instead.
Watch the lights. Keep the lights off of dim them during daytime hours to reduce both heat and electricity usage. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use substantially less energy than conventional light bulbs and generate less heat. If you haven’t done so already, replace your old light bulbs with energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.
There you have it. Twelve ways to reduce your electricity bill this summer from what it could have been if you were not taking the above steps. You may be wondering if changing light bulbs and cleaning the filters in an air conditioning unit can really make an impact in lowering your electricity bill. Yes! These changes can make a difference and they will have an impact on your wallet.
Also, if you plan to purchase any new appliances in the coming months, don’t forget to look for items that are Energy Star approved. You can also find a wealth of helpful information on the Energy Star website at http://www.energystar.gov/.