10 Ways To Beat The Summer Heat CostsSummer is here and so are likely sky-high electricity bills to keep you and your family cool.
If you rent and your monthly rent doesn’t include utilities, these summer heat waves could be scorching a hole through your budget. It’s no secret that cooling your apartment is a renter’s top utility expense, and according to Energy Star, half of the average home’s summer energy bill goes toward keeping it cool.
The good news is that even if you don’t own your home, there are plenty of simple energy saving tips you can make to help keep a few more dollars in your pocket this summer.
Shut the blinds: Or better yet, get some heavy blackout drapes. According to Energy.gov, this simple step can help reduce the heat coming into your apartment by 33% to 45%. Another bonus? Without all that sunlight streaming in the morning you might get a few more hours to sleep in the morning on your days off. The kids might also go to bed at a reasonable hour instead of waiting for the sun to set.
Call your local utility company: You may be surprised by the savings and incentives they have to offer. Be sure to also check out their website, where you’ll find more energy saving tips and discount programs.
Check for off-peak reduced rates: See if there are any local off-peak rates and find out what time of day. Then plan to run the dishwasher, do the laundry and other energy draining chores during those times.
Change your filters: Air conditioning unit filters should be changed or cleaned every few months. According to Energy.gov, simply replacing your dirty air conditioning filter with a clean one can reduce your unit’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
Keep vents clean and clear: It’s a good idea to clean out your air ducts every six months, or at the very least, once a year. Less dust and dirt buildup means more cool air fills your home.
Plug any air gaps: Go get the caulk or weather-stripping tape out to take care of any leaks from your doors and windows. Keeping all the cool air inside means less work for your air conditioning unit.
Get regular maintenance of the air conditioning unit: Get yours checked at least once a year, so you won’t have to beg friends or relatives to crash at their place if your A/C unit dies unexpectedly. Hire a professional to clean the coils, check for clogs, replace fuses and check the compressor for leaks to ensure your A/C system is running as efficiently as possible, and to make minor repairs before they turn into major expenses.
Do a light bulb swap: They may be pricier upfront, but the long-term cost savings of using energy efficient compact florescent light bulbs are worth it. The CFL light bulbs use 70% to 90% less energy than the standard bulbs. It’s a savings of about $30 to $80 per bulb.
Invest in a programmable thermostat: For renters, this might be tricky and will involve you asking the landlord. Talk up the benefits of setting up usage based on when you are actually in the space. Each degree you turn down the thermostat is an annual savings of about 1% per 8-hour period. This one is a year-round gift to your wallet. Set the temperature to be a little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter. Each degree above 72 degrees represents a 1% to 3% savings on your electric bill.
Unplug when you can: EnergyStar.gov reports that even when not in use, plugged in electronics like your gaming system or computers still use a small amount of energy. So whether you opt to walk around and do it manually or get a smart power strip that manages your power for you, it pays to unplug… literally.