Summer's warm temperatures typically bring an increased demand for electricity, as people turn on fans and air conditioners to help keep cool. Coupled with rising costs for energy supply could mean higher electric bills for those who don't plan ahead.
Here are some simple things that you can do to stay cool, save energy, and keep your electric bills under control:
- Turn off everything you're not using; lights, TVs, computers, etc. Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
- Unplug computers and phone chargers when they are not in use - electronics on hibernate and in standby mode can still draw power.
- Set a programmable thermostat to your daily and weekend schedule. Raise your thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. This can save 3-5% on air conditioning costs with each degree you raise the temperature!
- Close blinds, shades, and draperies facing the sun to keep the sun's heat out and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
- Check the weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks between window air conditioners and windows with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
- Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. With central air, close off vents to unused rooms.
- Use fans to draw cooler air inside during the night and circulate air during the day. Even if you have air conditioning, ceiling and other fans provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can raise the thermostat and contain air conditioning costs.
- Delay heat-producing tasks such as washing and drying laundry or dishes until later in the day, and wait to wash your clothes until you have a full load of wash.
- Replace your four most used 100-watt incandescent bulbs with four comparable 23-watt compact fluorescent bulbs. ENERGY STAR® -labeled compact fluorescents work well almost anywhere incandescent bulbs are in use and can save you a significant amount of money over their lifetime.
- Plant shade trees close to the house on the south and west sides.
- Use window or whole-house ventilating fans to cool your home.
- Regularly check the air filter of your air conditioner - a clean air filter improves the system efficiency, which should lead to energy savings.
- Have a professional check your air conditioning system to ensure that it works properly and is not leaking coolant
- Be sure all windows are shut and outside doors are closed when the AC is on
- It is important not to have lamps, televisions, or other heat sources close to the air conditioner thermostat. Heat from these sources may cause the air conditioner unit to run longer than it should.
- Check to ensure that no furniture or other obstacles are blocking ducts or fans. This will enable cooled air to circulate freely, making your home more comfortable