Most people expect higher energy costs in the summer. We crank up the air conditioning to get out of the sun; the kids are home from school and spend all day on their electronics; and, when you finally convince them to play outside, you find yourself washing extra loads of bathing suits, beach towels, and muddy clothes. The warm weather comes with a price. But, with a little preparation, you can manage your energy use wisely and cut down on your bill. We've shared 7 tips below that will help you use less energy in the summer and save you valuable money on your utilities.
1. Be Smart with Your Thermostat
It feels good to blast the AC after getting home from a workout, time spent outside, or just a generally sweltering summer day. But it probably won't feel so good later when you see that your utility bills have skyrocketed. Keep in mind that for every degree you raise your thermostat above 72º, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses. Try setting your thermostat to 78º, or as high as your comfort allows.
When you're away from home, set the temperature even higher or, if it's not too hot, turn it off altogether so you don't waste air conditioning on an empty house. If you install a smart or programmable thermostat, you won't have to go through the trouble of manually changing the temperature each time you leave. These thermostats will automatically adjust your home's climate control while you're away.
2. Keep Your Home Easy & Breezy
Another easy way to cut down on cooling costs is by using fans. Ceiling fans are great for cooling an entire room, and many homes already come equipped so there's no purchase necessary. Even if you don't have one, portable fans are inexpensive and readily available at any home goods or big-box store. A good fan will allow you to raise your thermostat 4º while maintaining the same level of comfort. If you don't mind the light breeze, go ahead and lower the temperature on your AC because fans can be very effective.
3. Keep the Sun Out and the Cool Air In
The summer sun is great for tanning, great for your mood, and great for beaches, picnics, and sunsets. However, it's not so great if you want to keep your house cool. Sunlight coming through your windows will heat up your home, causing you to spend more on air conditioning. Try drawing the blinds during the hottest parts of the day, especially if your windows are facing south. You can open your windows again at night when it gets cool; this will allow you to turn off your air conditioning. Just don't forget to close them again in the morning to trap in the cool air.
Also, if you're planning to invest in landscaping, keep in mind that trees provide great natural shade. Strategically placed shrubs, trees, and vines can block sunlight from your windows, roof, and walls, saving you $100 - $250 per year in cooling costs.
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