- Personal Finance»
- Family Budget
Tips to Save Money on your Electric Bill this Summer - How to Manage your Air Conditioner and Still Stay Comfortable
Lower your Electric Bill and Stay Cool for Less
Utility bills can take a huge bite out of the family budget. A harsh winter or summer can cause your electricity (or gas) bill to jump. Everyone says to turn the thermostat up to save money, which is true, but there are a few other things you can do to stay cool that help that higher thermostat setting still keep you comfortable in your home. Here are a handful of tips that might help you to shave a few dollars a month off of your air conditioning costs this summer.
- Cool the house off at night - This one may sound counterintuitive, but it works. If you like a cooler temperature for better sleep, turn the air down when you go to bed and back up when you wake up. Unless it's really hot outside, 95+, the air may not come back on during the day and the cool temperature from the night holds throughout the majority of the day. When the air conditioning unit runs at night, it works much less hard than during the heat of the day, and comes on less frequently to get the house to a lower temperature.
- Fans - Ceiling fans or even table top fans work really well to cool you down. Fans don't change the temperature in a room, but they make you feel cooler. So don't leave them on when you're not in the room, that just wastes electricity. But they allow that higher thermostat setting to feel a couple of degrees cooler. So if you're not using fans, that simple addition will allow you to up your thermostat another couple of degrees without feeling hot.
- Afternoon Sun - The glaring afternoon sun is a big culprit for warming up your home. If possible, keep shades/blinds/curtains closed on that side of the house during the afternoon. If you own your home, and there's space, planting a tree that will shade your home from the harsh afternoon sun will help to cool your home. Porches or overhangs on the sunny side of the house will also provide shade to the windows there and block out the sun's heat.
- Insulation - If your home isn't well insulated, the cool air you're bringing in is going right back out. While not all that easy, or cheap, to fully re-insulate your whole home, adding more insulation to your attic can help to keep that cool air from escaping through the roof.
- Unit Clearance - Make sure that weeds or tall grass don't grow up around your air conditioning unit. Keep it shaded if possible. Anything that makes your unit work harder costs you more money. So allowing the air to flow around it and protecting it a bit from the sun will help it to run with less effort.
- Programmable Thermostat - It's been mentioned many times, but it really does help to control the timing of when you need your home to be cooled. If everyone is out of the house during the day, there's no need to keep the air running but you can have it turned back on just before you get home, or if the temperature reaches a certain goal and you don't want it to get too hot. You can also make sure it stays off during the times of the day when electricity may be more expensive - like the mid-afternoon to early evening.
- Lights - It may not seem like they emit much heat, but many lights do, especially if they are also reflecting off of a mirror. Keep them turned off when you're not in the room.
Give some of the tips above a try. Every little bit helps and we can all use a bit more money in our own pockets.