10 Ways to reduce your energy bill this summer
Beat the heat without busting your budget with a few simple tips. Adjusting your schedule slightly can prevent you from having to sleep on a lounge chair in your pool just to stay cool this summer.
Talk with your electric company about plans that would be right for you
Most companies have several options that will fit your schedule and lifestyle. Many people opt to select a plan that is less expensive during nonpeak hours and try to use most of their power during the nonpeak times. They may also be able to average your payments throughout the year so at least your bills are steady, and you know what to expect each month.
Take showers at night
This has several benefits, one being that you won't heat up your bathroom and home with steam during the day when the sun is out. In addition your hair will be dry when you wake up, making that 20 minute blow-dry unnecessary. Finally if you go to bed after a shower with slightly wet hair, you'll likely feel a bit cooler and have an easier time falling asleep.
Use the sun to
dry your clothes
Wash clothes in the early morning or late evening in cold water and then use the free heat — a.k.a. the sun — to dry those clothes. Sun can also double as a natural form of bleach so hang your whites in full sun and keep anything you don't want to fade in the shade.
Eat no-cook meals or use the grill to heat your food
Salads and other meals that don't need to be cooked often taste better on hot days and they won't heat up your house. Save the baking or any long cooking for late in the evening if you must. Plan your meals out for the week and consider baking or cooking several things at one time and then just reheating them in the microwave when you are ready to eat them.
Turn up your thermostat especially during the day when you aren't home
Even a few degrees can make a major difference on your bill. Rely on ceiling fans or floor fans during the day and turn your thermostat down in the evening when the temperatures cool down and your unit won't have to work as hard.
Turn off fans in
rooms you aren't using
Ceiling fans and other fans do absolutely nothing to change the temperature of the room; they simply create air flow that makes people feel cooler. Having fans on when you aren't home or in rooms you aren't using is nothing more than a waste of energy and money.
Turn off appliances and lights when not in use
You'd be surprised how much heat a computer can generate when left on all night long. Make an extra effort to unplug or turn off things you aren't using in the summer. It will not only produce less heat in your home but it will also save you money. Consider plugging appliances into a power cord with a switch so you can easily switch it on and off when you aren't using it.
Invest in energy-saving window coverings
Many stores offer curtains, blinds and other coverings for relatively lost cost. The investment you make will likely be worth it in the long run both financially and in terms of your comfort. If you don't have a lot of money to spend, consider just putting window coverings on your windows that get the most sun.
Keep your blinds closed or your curtains drawn during the hottest parts of the day
Your windows are where a lot of your cool air is lost and your hot air comes in. Keep east-facing windows covered in the morning and west-facing windows covered in the evening.
Maintain your home
Change your air filters regularly and consider getting your unit checked each year for any issues. Replace weather stripping and sealing on doors and windows to make sure there are no cracks or gaps that hot air can come in through or that cold air can escape from. Be sure your ducts are sealed properly. Closing vents in rooms not in use isn't necessarily a good idea as it can make your unit work harder due to the backward flow of air.