It seems as though as quickly as spring arrived, we are leaving it behind and heading towards summer. The summer season is a time for outings, vacations, and cookouts with the ones you love. However, it is also the time of year where your energy bills tend to skyrocket. If you’re dreading seeing that envelope come in the mail, you might be wondering how bad this season might hurt your wallet this year. But summer doesn’t have to mean extreme energy costs. Below are a few ideas that will help you save your hard-earned cash this summer and have more to use the way you want to.
1. Replace Air Conditioning with Running Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans use only a tiny fraction of the energy that a central air conditioner does—approximately 1.6% of it. That means you’d have to run a fan for approximately 100 hours in order to use the same amount of energy you do to run your air conditioner for just one hour. While fans don’t actually lower the temperature in the room they are in, they can make that room feel up to eight degrees cooler than it actually is by circulating the air. This makes them efficient and cost-effective substitute for a cooling system that could save you up to 40% on your energy bill.
2. Change Your Air Filter
Dirty air filters restrict airflow through your air conditioner, and that costs you money. In fact, dirty air filters can increase your cooling expenses by up to 15% every month. HVAC specialists advise checking your air filter every month and then replacing it every three to four months as needed. Doing this will help you hold on to your cash at the end of the month as well as in the long run if it helps you avoid having to prematurely replace your home’s cooling system.
3. Be Strict with Your Thermostat
A surprising number of people do not know how to set their thermostat properly. They either set it far too low to try and cool their home faster, or they allow their home’s temperature to swing wildly by shutting their system off completely during inopportune hours. The best way to set your thermostat is at your ideal temperature, and let your system do the work to get there. Setting it cooler will not get it there any faster. Likewise, do not turn your system off entirely when you leave. This will lead to longer and more expensive cooling cycles when you return. Instead, set your thermostat three to four degrees higher, which will shorten cooling times and save energy.
4. Disconnect Devices That Are Not in Use
Before you step out of your house, unplug the devices you won’t be using while you’re gone. Even though something might be in the “off” setting, many of these devices still use power while they are shut down. This is often referred to as “standby” or “vampire” power and this will still accumulate and show up on your monthly electricity bill. Having a few of these devices adds up fairly quickly.
5. Spend Time Outside
Summer is the best time of year to go outside and enjoy the fresh air! Warm temperatures make it a great time to enjoy nature, take in a music festival, go to a restaurant and sit on the patio, or even head to a local park to enjoy a picnic. It’s also a great time for beach days or fishing trips, as well as a great time to travel! The more time you spend outside, the less time you will spend indoors burning through electricity that will show up on your monthly bills.
6. Start a Garden
Nature has a great way of protecting itself from harsh sunlight while also benefitting from this sunlight greatly. Trees and shrubs provide shade that blocks light and heat from reaching your home where it increases your indoor temperatures. A home positioned under shady trees and shrubs can keep your home cool and increase your A/C unit’s efficiency by roughly 10%. Start a garden today and within a few short years you’ll be enjoying the benefits of natural shade.
7. Limit Your Water Use
Did you know that 18% of the electricity used in the average home is dedicated to water heating? Creating hot water requires a pretty sizeable amount of energy, and that adds up quickly. Laundry cycles and long showers save can be costly for this reason. Make sure to always fill your washing machine as much as you can to save hot water and consider using the warm temperatures of summer to air-dry your clothes. Likewise, limit hot showers to just a few minutes to save money.
8. Avoid Peak Hour Consumption
Avoiding what the electric companies call “peak hours” is important when it comes to cutting costs. Peak hours are when demand on the grid is at its highest, and the limited supply mixed with the high demand makes prices skyrocket during these periods. Generally, these occur between the hours of about 4pm and 9pm every day. By limiting your usage to early in the day or very late at night, you can avoid paying premium prices for power.
9. Cover Windows During the Heat of the Day
Finally, the sun pelts your home with a ton of energy every day, and this energy is often carried into your home through windows. When the temperature outside soars, your windows may be allowing this heat inside. Covering your windows may block out some of the light, but it will block out a lot of the heat that could otherwise be sapping away the energy your air conditioner is using. Instead, open your windows at night, when cool summer breezes allow you to refresh your home and keep it comfortable without having to run your air conditioner.
Zar Electric is here for you
We know this year has been tough and we all could use a great summer. Your local Raleigh area electricians are here to help you prepare your home so you don’t have to worry about your energy bill.
Zar Electric is always On the Job, Doin’ the Job, Gettin’ the Job Done Right! If you’re looking to install or repair ceiling fans or you need any part of your electrical system repaired, call us at (919) 200-6551 today for an estimate!