It’s hot and the weather won’t change anytime soon. Though summer storms do cool things off a bit, the heat quickly returns and that means your summer utility bills are going to be raiding your wallet. With daytime temperatures reaching into the low to mid 90’s, accompanied by high humidity, and, overnight lows falling only to the high 70’s to low 80’s, your air conditioner will get quite the workout.
Other appliances and fixtures will also work harder, such as your refrigerator, ceiling fans, pool pump, and sprinkler system. Overcoming permeating heat is no small task, for your body, or, for your home. Insulation, ductwork, windows, and doors will be put to the test, all helping to keep your home cool. All the while, utility costs keep rising, but, fortunately, there are things you can do to cut down on energy expenses.
How to Reduce Summer Utility Bills
During the summer, which, here in Orlando, generally lasts from May through October, you use more electricity and water. That not only means higher utility bills, but also, wear and tear on appliances and fixtures. The heat makes retreating indoor a necessity, and, when you do, you use more energy and water.
“During the summer months, set your thermostat to 76-78 degrees when you’re home, and to ‘off’ when you’re not. By reducing the cooling load in this manner you’ll use 1-3% less energy per degree that the thermostat is set above 72. Ceiling or room fans are a great way to circulate air and keep you feeling just as cool as if the thermostat were set to a lower temperature!” —My Energy.com
The good news is, there are some things you can do to lower your utility costs–some of these are creative, while others are just about being smart. Here are a few ways to reduce your ever-growing summer utility bill:
- Replace or reseal windows and doors. Windows and doors are notorious for leaking. During the summer, warm air penetrates through, while letting cool air out. In the winter, the opposite happens. Inspect all your windows and exterior doors. Check the caulking and weatherstripping, and, if necessary reseal or replace them. Another way to reduce heat transfer is to close the blinds and/or install window film.
- Check your attic insulation and air ducts. While it’s not an exciting or pleasant experience, get up into the attic and look at your insulation and ductwork. You can fill a spray bottle with soapy water and spray ducts to detect leaks. If the insulation is worn, replace it to help keep your home more comfortable.
- Unplug small appliances and electronics when not in use. Desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, kitchen counter appliances, and other small appliances and electronics. Though these use relatively little energy, combined over time, it adds up. Unplug whatever is not in use and make it routine to do so, especially at night before you call it a day.
- Cook meals outside when you can. We all know that it costs less to prepare your own meals than eating out. What you might not know is how cooking drives your energy costs up. When you use a stovetop or oven, radiating heat causes the thermostat to rise and turns on your central air conditioning. What’s more, heat rises, so, ceiling fans disperse warm air, compounding the problem. So, grill meals outside to help save.
- Upgrade appliances for long term savings. Those energy star appliances you see in home improvements stores are more efficient and that equals long term savings. If you don’t want to incur upgrade cost, then clean refrigerator coils, adjust temperatures, and make tweaks where needed.
In addition to these tips, you can also use landscaping to your advantage, planting trees on the east and west side of your home for shade. Not only does it help keep your home cool, it’s a big aesthetic plus.