When temperatures start to rise, so do electric bills- at least in the middle of Texas where I live! Lowering your electric bills in the summer is actually easier than many people think. With just a few, inexpensive or even free adjustments to the way you live everyday, you can end up with significant savings on your monthly energy bills. (Savings. They make my world go round!)
Try some or all of the following steps to lower your energy bills this summer (bonus: you’ll help the planet too!):
Find and Seal Leaks
Leaks in your home are one of the biggest causes for energy loss (which means that your heating and cooling bills go up!). The biggest air leaks in the majority of homes occur around doorways and windows, so check these areas for signs of leaks. Usually, if you can slip a piece of paper into the gap, you are losing energy, so seal up those leaks with caulk or weather stripping. Leaks can also occur in other places, such as around duct vents, electrical outlets, and plumbing lines. If you really want to get into it, you can have your home evaluated for energy loss by a professional HVAC contractor – he or she can also find and seal leaks in your ductwork.
Cover your windows during the day with blackout curtains to prevent the outdoor heat from beaming into your home. Even regular blinds, or medium-weight curtains can reduce the amount of heat that enters through the windows.
Avoid Appliance Use
Your appliances can use a significant amount of energy, and produce high heat levels that strain your air conditioner’s ability to compensate. Cook most meals on the stove rather than the oven, which can heat up the entire house, or even out on the grill, or on a solar stove if you want to save even more power. Dry your clothes on a clothesline rather than in the dryer, if you can – the dryer puts out a huge amount of heat, which causes your air conditioner to work harder, and uses a lot of power as well. Avoid using other appliances during the day, if possible – unplug any electrical items not in use to maximize energy savings. (Did you know that even small appliances like your toaster or blender keep sucking up power, even if they’re not in use? Unplug everything, and you’ll save energy for the stuff you really need, like the air conditioner.)
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