Eeeegads! Are we in a heatwave or what??!! No, I’m not complaining. Ok, maybe a little! While I’m so very thankful for air conditioning, it has been running way more than I’d like it to! I prefer the windows to be open to catch a breeze vs living in a sealed up house. As I just recently paid our energy bill, the thought occurred to gather some helpful tips to lower your monthly electric bill. If you have further ideas, please share them in the comments!
1. Air Conditioner Maintenance
A little regular upkeep can go along way. Preventative . measures are always better than paying for repairs. Change or clean air filters. This task will improve the efficiency of your air conditioner. You may need to replace it once a month if it’s been in constant use. Clean the coils. Remove debris from unit such as leaves, grass clippings, etc. Keep all plants trimmed back to not impede airflow to and from the unit. Straighten bent coil fins. Bent fins can block airflow. Make sure interior vents are not blocked by curtains or furniture.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat Throughout the Day
If the temperature is set too high, your unit will have to work even harder to cool the place down when you get home. This drives your power bill up and can also stress the unit, and no one needs added stress — not even your air-conditioning unit. A better option is a programmable thermostat. Set it and go.
3. Invest in Fans
Fans use way less energy than central air. Ceiling fans can save you money on utilities both in the summer and winter, because most come equipped with a switch to change the rotation direction. Set them to counterclockwise in summer to bring down the cool air, and clockwise in the winter to pull cool air up and push warm air down. Pedestal fans that rotate are a great option to move air and cool you down.
4. Get Into the Habit of Unplugging
I’ll admit, I’m guilty of leaving EVERYTHING plugged in. Apparently, unplugging EVERYTHING is a big help in reducing your electric bill, because plugged-in appliances can draw in what is called a “phantom charge”. That doesn’t sound good! Considering the amount of technology we rely on in our homes these days, these phantom charges could be driving our power bills way up. Smart power strips are recommended that way you just turn it off at the switch. This is definitely something I need to look into, at least for half of what we keep plugged in 24/7.
5. Invest in Insulated Curtains
Black out or insulated curtains really do a great job at keeping the heat from coming in and from your cool air ($$$) from escaping. This allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you normally would.
6. Check Your Ductwork and Attic
Your home’s ductwork and attic can also be allowing warm or cool air to escape, and there are a couple of obvious signs when they’re in need of repairs.
If you can see the support beams in your attic, your attic needs more insulation. As for ductwork, seeing dust is actually a good thing. If you see parts of your ductwork that aren’t collecting dust, this means air is leaking out of the joints and seals, and it needs to be patched up.
If you’re handy and up to doing it yourself, you can find plenty of DIY tutorials on YouTube. However, insulation takes skill to install, and recommendations vary by climate, so it may be best to hire a professional to inspect and do the work for you.
7. Replace Burnouts With Energy Savers
Upgrading your lightbulbs to LEDs can save a pretty penny. Start with the most used rooms and go from there. Replace with LEDs as they burn out. Of course, LED lightbulbs generally cost more, but they save more energy and last longer than the other two options, so the investment may be worth it.
8. Cut Down Drying Time With Dryer Balls
Dryer balls can actually cut drying time by up to 25%. So not only can you save a little bit of money, you can also cut down your chore time. Another option, is installing a clothes line outdoors. I remember hanging clothes and linens on the line with my grandma. Many fond memories. This is definitely on my to-do-list.
9. Upgrade Your Appliances
Heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, ovens and washers and dryers cost quite a bit of money upfront, but investing in energy-saving options will save you money in the long run.
10. Check Out Options From Your Power Company
Most if not all power companies offer something called budget billing that averages your yearly bills to create a flat-rate bill with no surprises. Check your power company’s website, or call the company to discuss what it has to offer.
This is obviously the short list, but small changes here and there can really add up to significant savings over the year. I hope you found this helpful. If you think of other tips, please share!! Stay cool!