Summertime is full of fun things to spend money on: Vacations. Concerts in the park. Ice cream. Pricey sunscreen in our shopping cart even brings us a little joy. Know what doesn’t? Using money we’d saved up for theme park souvenirs on a disappointingly high electric bill. While we can’t completely avoid using extra amps in warmer months, there are some things we can do to minimize the sticker shock during our hot New England summers. Here are 10 of our favorite energy-saving tips:
- Program your thermostat. If you’ll be out of the house most of the day, it’s worth it to give your AC a bit of a breather. Some homeowners think it’s harder on their system to cool down a warm room than it is to maintain a consistently cool temperature all day. But that’s simply not the case. Air conditioners are much more efficient at cooling warm air than they are at keeping cool air cool.
So, set your thermostat warmer when you expect to be gone for several hours, and program it to kick back on an hour or so before you’ll be returning. Correct use of your programmable thermostat can save you up to $180 per year.
- Bump up the temperature. You’ll either get to splurge on those vacation souvenirs or make your home cold enough to require a hoodie in August. If you’re serious about saving money on your energy bills this summer, move your thermostat from 73oF to 74oF. Or higher, of course. Every degree warmer will shave 3-5% off your electric bill.
- Get shady. Close your window treatments—curtains, blinds, and shades—to prevent sunlight from warming up your rooms. This is particularly helpful on the south and west sides of your home.
- Fire up the grill. Your oven doesn’t use that much energy itself, but it will increase the ambient temperature in your kitchen, which will tempt you to cranky up your AC. Forgo the roasted chicken and toss it on the BBQ grill instead. (Need some culinary inspiration? Here’s a collection of grilled chicken recipes.)
- String a line. There’s nothing quite like sun-and-wind-dried linens. With an average annual cost of just $104, your dryer doesn’t use a ton of energy. But opting for a clothesline when it’s toasty outside will certainly fund your summer sno-cone habit.
- Stay out of the fridge. On average, people open their refrigerator 33 times per day. Each time that door’s opened, warm air flows inside—and then the compressor has to get to work. Minimizing trips to the fridge conserves energy.
- Use the off switch. When you leave a room, be sure to turn off the lights and fans. Ceiling fans do a terrific job of giving us some relief in a warm room, but they don’t actually cool the air. Leaving fans on in empty rooms is a complete waste of energy.
- Conserve water. Our electricity bill isn’t the only utility expense that increases in the summer; our water bills also tend to soar. Use your lawn sprinklers between 4 am and 10 am when the water’s less likely to evaporate. Also ,conserve water inside by using low-flow showerheads and/or taking shorter showers. (You could probably kill two birds with one stone and bathe in your Rain Train, but we’re guessing your HOA would frown on that.)
- Get an HVAC check-up. An HVAC professional can check for system inefficiencies and conduct preventive maintenance that will, in the long run, save you money.
- Improve insulation. If you haven’t checked for gaps in your home’s insulation for awhile (or forever), summer’s a great time to do so. Adding or replacing insulation can be expensive, so understand it may take a number of years to recoup your investment. Check here to learn if you could be eligible for a tax credit to help reduce that payback time.
Upper Valley HVAC service Jerm’s Plumbing & Heating is your trusted partner for air conditioning, heating, and air quality needs. What can we help you with today?