Energy bills—like the temperature—always rise in the spring and summer. But don’t fret: While there are big fixes* you can incorporate to make your home more energy-efficient, there are also many inexpensive energy solutions, as well as some simple and free steps that you can take to cut down on costs and save money.
Turn it up. Set your thermostat as high as possible. Start with 78 degrees when at home and 85 degrees when away. For each degree above 72 you set the thermostat, you save between 1-3 percent. Be sure to take into consideration your health and comfort, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Circulate air. Use fans to create cool breezes and keep the air moving in your home. Ceiling fans, in particular, can create enough air movement to make it cooler by at least four degrees. This could translate into a significantly lower monthly electric bill, as ceiling fans only use about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb.
Shut the shades. Windows allow a lot of heat into your home. Keep drapes and shades closed during the day to keep the temperature down.
Open nights. At night, if it’s cooler outside than in, open your windows! Not only will this bring some fresh air into your home, it will give you a chance to turn off that AC. Also, be sure to close your windows in the morning to keep the cooler air in longer.
Wash and dry wisely. Run only full loads when using your dishwasher or washing machine. Whenever possible, run those appliances during off-peak hours or when your air conditioner is turned off or barely running, which typically is during the evening, to save energy. Use the clothes dryers’ moisture-sensing automatic drying setting if it has one, and clean your clothes dryers’ lint trap after each use.
Unplug. Electronics—such as TVs, DVDs, chargers, computers, printers and other devices—use electricity even when they are turned off. By unplugging these devices when you’re not using them, you only save a few watts, but they quickly add up to bigger savings over time. Use a power strip for multiple devices, and switch it off before you go to bed. Also, turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Plan pool time. If you have a pool, shorten the operating time if possible. Switch the pool filter and sweeper operations to off-peak hours and during nighttime if the pool has automatic cleaning settings.
*As always, be sure to consult with the association to get approval for any major renovations on your home.