It’s almost summer time! Are you ready? I’m ready for the nice, long days. But I can’t say I’m ready for the oppressive Texas heat. One of only things I truly dislike about this time of year is the electric bill. No matter how hard I try each summer it seems like I still end up with ridiculous energy bills. But I’ll never stop trying to keep these costs down. If you’re like me, and want to win the war against this summer’s heat, here are a few tricks for keeping energy bills down.
Change the A/C Filter – This is a quick and easy fix, and really something you should be doing already. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and make your unit work harder. Maintenance varies from unit to unit, but typical recommendations are to change the filter once a month.
Keep Some Windows Covered – Summer afternoons and evenings can be brutal on the western and southern ends of your house. Make sure you keep windows on that side of the house covered with drapes. At a minimum, close the shutters, which will reflect some of the heat.
Consider a Whole House Fan – I don’t own one of these, because I live in Texas and the heat is too much for it. But I hear they are an effective way to cool a house in more moderate climates. The idea is to bring in the cooler air through the windows, and expelling the hot air out through the attic.
Use More Fans – If a whole house fan isn’t in your future, then at least make sure you’re using your other fans effectively. Ensure you’ve switched the fan circulation back from winter mode. Summer mode is counter-clockwise. This will push the air down. To be effective, you have to be in the room with your fan. So make sure you turn off the fan when you leave a room.
Install a Smart Power Strip – By installing one of these power strips, you’ll eliminate the vampire power that’s sucking money from you even when you’re not there in the home or using your electronic devices. Simply unplugging your devices also works.
Plant a Tree Near Your Home – This won’t exactly work overnight, but you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. As much as 11% in savings some studies say. For a more immediate effect, plant a tree to shade your outside air conditioning unit. The extra shade helps the unit to be more efficient.
Get Out of the House – Look for more opportunities to get out of the house this summer. Plan your trips in the afternoon, when the heat is the most intense. Head to the grocery store, the pool, the library, or even the mall, which sometimes have indoor play areas for your kids. Although, be sure that this routine trip to the mall doesn’t end up costing you more than your energy savings.
Cook Outside More – In the summer months plan to do more of your cooking outside on the grill. This will keep your house cooler because you’ll be using the oven and range less. I like my steaks cooked in the oven, but I’ll settle for the grill if it means a cooler house.
You can actually reduce heater and air conditioning expense by regulating humidity with home dehumidifiers. You will find that sometimes the dampness is the most uncomfortable.
I’d love to hear your ideas for saving on energy bills this summer. Share them in the comments below…
Read more money saving tips by PT over at PT Money: Personal Finance. Lately, PT has been covering the topics of mortgages, online savings accounts, insurance, and beginning investing.