When it’s not the winter season bringing you cold weather and high electric bills from heating costs, its summer bringing you a high electric bill from cooling off. Not only that, but summer often means more people are home from school, using more power and that adds up really quickly!
The average summer electric bill is higher than usual not just because more is being used, but also because of the market price on electricity going up.
Supply and demand is a crazy thing. When demand is high, prices go up. You notice this happening all the time, but most commonly with utility bills and gasoline.
As a direct result, people are searching for different ways to save money on everything including water usage, utility bills, food, and vacations.
How to save on electricity
Saving on your power bill isn’t as difficult as it may seem. There are so many easy options to help you reduce cooling costs. Check out these tips for how to reduce your electricity bill at home and how to cut energy costs in summer! Reading this in the middle of winter? It’s okay, most of these tips can apply to you too!
Energy Saving Tips for Summer
One of the most common tips for lowering your electric bill is actually to unplug your electronics. This is a big one as appliances that are left plugged in are drawing power whether they are on, being used, or just sitting there. You can spot them easily if they have a clock or a light, but not every appliance has one of these.
Unplugging your coffee pot, microwave, tv, toaster, and lamps when not in use can save you a lot of money every month. Doing this could also cause you a major headache of frustration. Constantly moving items, ignoring the crumbs, and forgetting that you unplugged them when you go to use them again. It’s crazy.
Buying a surge protector can help you to not lose your mind unplugging things hundreds of times a day! When appliances aren’t in use, turn the strip off with the push of a button. This will stop the flow of electricity. As an added bonus, if lightning strikes too close to your home, these surge protectors will help to keep your expensive items safe!
When we lived on a military post in Tenessee, the neighbor down the street had lightning strike the tree in his front yard. None of his items were plugged into a surge protector and he had to rebuy everything that wasn’t covered by his renter’s insurance. It took him months.
Get a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats can save you up to 10% off your electric bill. While that doesn’t sound like much consider your $100 electric bill. 10% of that is $10. What can you do with $10? 2 trips to Starbucks, a trip for 1 to McDonald’s, several grocery items, or a few gallons of gas. Now that percentage doesn’t seem so inadequate, does it?
Tip: Read the manual or advice that comes with your specific thermostat, they often contain great tips for cutting costs. For instance, did you know that adjusting the thermostat more than 2 degrees at a time can send it into emergency mode and cost more to run as it quickly tries to meet your demands?
Bonus Tip: Don’t put heat giving items (like lamps) near the thermostat, it will cause false readings and make your heating/cooling devices work much harder.
Do your laundry in cold water
Cold water doesn’t need to be heated and can cost much less than a hot/warm cycle would.
Tip: fill your load up as full as you can (not overloading) this will help you get your monies worth since a washer that’s barely got anything in it costs the same amount to run as one that it full.
Skip the heated dries
Dishwashers and laundry machines both have heated dry cycles, which cost money and heat up the house. Which then has your cooling system running on overdrive, in a vicious circle of expenses.
Consider instead, using air-drying method for dishwashing or laundry.
By using a clothesline you can dry your clothes outside in the sun (which by the way is a great stain remover) or let the water on the dishes in the dishwasher evaporate or towel dry. Make the summer heat work for you by putting it to work on your chores.
Avoid turning your home into an igloo
I realize that during the heat of summer, it can feel great walking into your home and feeling like a penguin on ice, but that’s not a great idea for your electric bill. Unfortunately, cooling the air down can cost a lot of money. Instead, keep it at a few degrees lower than the outside house temp, and find other ways to keep your home and self cool.
Find something to do outside the home
When you stay at home, you spend money on heating up food, watching electronic devices, and adjusting the thermostat. Consider instead, turning everything off, and going out to a movie, the park, camping or hanging out with friends. This can keep you out and about (maybe even in a place with air conditioning) and can have you spending less money on your utilities at home.
Seal up your home
By investing in thermal blackout curtains, designed to keep out light and heat, you can help to seal off your home and keep it feeling cooler. Another things you can do is keep the window blinds down and closed, as this is an added layer of sealing before the curtains.
Some things you can buy to make your home more energy efficient:
- Window blinds
- Window curtains
- Programmable thermostat
- Energy surge protectors
- Outlet insulation
- Energy efficient appliances
- Window tint film
- Low flow shower head
- Dryer balls (great when you can’t line dry, cut time 25%)
Use energy efficient light bulbs
Compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LEDs) bulbs are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs because they use less energy. They do cost more money upfront, but they have a longer life expectancy and help to save you money on your electric bill, so they are an investment worth making.
Do heat giving chores in the early morning or late night
If it’s going to be hot outside, don’t run the dishwasher or oven during peak heat times. This will raise the warmth inside your home and raise the cooling costs. Instead, aim to do these heat giving chores in the early morning before the sun is in full effect, or at night when things have cooled down. Now you can be productive and not sweat to death.
Ask about low-income rates
If you’re a low-income family, there are several benefits you may qualify for! One of them is getting a special rate from utility companies. Call your electric company and see if they participate in this program, and what you can do to sign up. If they don’t have this one, or you don’t qualify, ask about any programs they may be running.
Use energy efficient appliances
This one costs a lot of money up front if you don’t already have energy efficient appliances inside your home. But for a more budget-friendly solution for right now, use small appliances instead of the oven. Microwaves, pressure cookers, and crock-pots all use less electricity that stoves and ovens.
A slow-cooked meal on low, for 8 hours in a crockpot will cost less than something cooked in the oven for 1 hour. Microwaves, pressure cookers, and toaster ovens all draw less power than a conventional oven does too!
So this summer, get lazy and eat more slow-cooked meals, your budget practically demands it. With a lower electric bill and easy dinners, you’ll have more time on your hands and money in your pocket. Now, what will you do with that free time?
Check for proper insulation
Easy things you can do as a homeowner to help insulate your home are:
Add insulation strips around windows and doors. This is a quick installation process and strips really don’t cost much.
Reapplying the caulking around your windows and window sills. A lot of air passes through window areas so making sure that there is no cracks or gaps in the caulk.
Spray foam into holes. Insulation foam is good for a few reasons. One is that it helps block air flow in gaps. The other is that it helps add a rodent-proof barrier to your home. Blocking off any holes big enough for a mouse is smart and energy efficient.
Add a solar vent to your attic
Your attic can collect a lot of heat during the summer, sometimes reaching 140 degrees or more. This is keeping your home warm during the day if there isn’t a proper ventilation system in place. Getting a solar powered vent can help the hot air escape and cool your attic space down. Plus side, it doesn’t draw on any electricity!
Use fans, not air conditioners
By circulating the air you use much less energy than if you were to cool and circulate the air with an air conditioner. A ceiling fan will lower the temperature of a room by approximately 4 degrees.
Use a ceiling fan to cool a room, then if needed- turn on and adjust the air conditioner unit accordingly.
Ultimately, your goal should be to not use it at all, but when it’s hot, it’s hot and no one can blame you for wanting to cool down.
Tip: make sure your air conditioner unit is clean so it uses less energy to run and operate. It also helps to preserve its life expectancy.
Close vents and doors
This is especially important if you aren’t using the room. Why waste money cooling a room that’s not in use?! By closing the doors and closing the air vents, you are redirecting that air to other areas of your home, and not wasting it.
Keep your fridge and freezer full
Running them empty uses more electricity than it does when they are full, it also cuts down on their life expectancy.
My mom used to put juice bottles full of water in the freezer when it was bare so that it was still “full and working” plus they made instant ice packs to put in a large cooler.
Tip: clean/dust the coils to make sure they aren’t working harder than they should be.
Invest in new windows
New windows for an older home can make a huge and immediate difference in your electricty bill. We had new windows installed just before a huge snow storm, our electricty bill was over $200 less than our neighbors. Which is remarkable considering we have a full house, are home all of the time, and they are hardly ever home.
While new windows are expensive, they are worth it. The energy savings pay for themselves in no time plus there are ways to reduce costs. Power companies often have grants, loans payment plans or discounts available to homeowners. Call yours and ask what they offer and see if you qualify for anything!
Then call around to local window installers and get price quotes and reviews from actual customers.
Free estimates are a blessing, and getting to know the installation companies when they come out to your home is necessary for finding a good one.
We found two companies with great reviews and had 2 guys come out and give us quotes on new windows. One was 45 minutes late to his appointment, without notice. He refused to do the garage window because it’s an uninsullated room and not covered by the grant we received from our power company. He also requested about twice as much money as guy #2.
Guy #2 showed up 15 minutes early. Was the son of the original owner and now co-owner to the company. Got us the garage window for $200 on top of the rest of the house (it’s a big window) and had been in the business for over 16 years. Obviously it was no competition, we chose him. Installation day was great and we have no complaints. None!
Moral: Companies look great on paper, but seeing how they represent themselves in person makes a HUGE difference!
Buying thicker doors can also help your electric bill
Thick doors are great for adding a layer of sound blocking as well as helping to keep your home insulated. Most doors are made hollow, and while this is perfectly fine for indoor doors, the ones leading to the outside should be better insulated.
Make outdoor lights solar powered
Solar powered motion detecting lights are great, as long as you don’t point them towards your neighbor’s bedroom window. Ask me how I know this one, hint- it’s the same reason I can tell you which light blocking curtains are great.
If you need more light on the pathway, perhaps because you work day shift or are part vampire, there are several great solar powered stake lights and options available. They work rain or shine and don’t cost anything besides the initial purchase.
Insulate water heater tank
Something else that is incredibly easy and a one-time deal is buying a blanket for your water tank. An insulating water heater blanket costs under $40 and helps your tank to hold the heated water. This means less electricity is needed and your warm water might stretch further!
Do you have any tips for saving on your energy useage? Tell us in the comments below!
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