A Few Ways to Reduce Summer Utility Bills
Although we have been lucky here in Oregon so far this summer compared to most of the rest of the country suffering from extensive heat waves, we too can benefit from the following tips to reduce our summer electricity bill:
1. Keep Filters Clean
HVAC systems need clean filters to run at peak efficiency. Dirt and dust will hinder airflow and ultimately force the unit to work harder. Clean or replace filters as often as needed to promote efficiency and reduce overall electricity usage.
2. Program the Thermostat
If possible, give your AC a break during the work day. Shifting to warmer temperatures during the day in this summer season could potentially save the average household’s electric bill up to $180.00 per year according to Energy Star.
3. Seal up Cracks or Openings
Cooled air can escape through cracks in windows or door frames. Sealing up these openings with caulking and weather stripping keep your home better insulated not just during AC season, but all year round, thereby improving energy efficiency by nearly 20% according to Alliance to Save Energy.
4. Avoid Using Appliances During Daytime Hours
Limit the use of heat generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and dryer during the hottest parts of the day. The hotter the space, the harder the AC needs to work to cool the space. Save these chores for cooler times of the day to insure your AC won’t be overburdened during the peak hot hours.
5. Close Blinds
Closing blinds to keep out the sunshine and extra heat, especially Southern and Western facing windows, will help keep things cooler and improve efficiency.
6. Use Fans to Cool People
A breeze helps to make things feel cooler, just be sure to turn it off when you’re not in the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
7. Unplug as Much as Possible
Anything that is plugged in is generating heat. Turn off things like cell phone chargers and computers when not in use. Standby power, especially for appliances, can generate up to 5-10% of residential electricity use.
8. Check Equipment Size and use Energy Star Guidelines
If you’re shopping for a new room or window air conditioner, check the Energy Star guidelines so you don’t overbuy one that is too big for the space. A too powerful unit will waste electricity.
9. Investigate Energy-Efficient Appliances
There are many incentives offered to those buying new energy efficient appliances. Do your homework and check out the following link: http://www.dsireusa.org/ for state incentives.
Every little bit really does help!