How to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bill

By Jessica Bivins, June 22, 2017, Energy Efficiency

To escape the heat of Texas summers, we use our air conditioners a lot. 

When your AC runs almost constantly to keep up with the long stretches of 90-plus degree heat (and high humidity), saving energy may seem like a tall order.

You can reduce your electric bill by taking a few easy steps to help your air conditioner cool your home. Try these simple energy-saving tips to watch your usage and your bills shrink.

How to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bill | Bounce Energy Blog

 

Use Drapes

Window panes let in the light and the view, but they’re also an excellent summertime heat conductor that will make your air conditioner work harder. The best way to combat that heat lamp effect is to block the sun from those south- and west-facing panes. Medium-colored drapes with plastic white backing on south- and west-facing windows — drawn tight — can reduce heat gain by as much as 33 percent. For even more protection, the shade from window and door awnings can reduce heat gain by 65 percent on windows facing south, and 77 percent on windows facing west. With the savings on cooling costs, these upgrades should eventually pay for themselves. 

Plug the leaks

Walk the perimeter of your house, both from the inside and the outside. Seal off any gaps and cracks with caulk and replace weatherstripping as needed. (This will also keep out those pesky insects.)

Replace your thermostat

Technology is on your side when it comes to energy savings. If you still have a manual thermostat, look into a programmable or even a smartphone-controlled replacement. That way, you can automate savings right into your daily routine. Smart thermostats can also help you track your usage. Just be sure and check the settings daily, so you know you’re getting cooling only when you need it.

How to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bill | Bounce Energy Blog

Set your thermostat wisely

When attempting to increase your savings, adjusting your idea of comfort can go a long way. A good place to start is at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home. If that’s not comfortable for you and your family, by all means, adjust it by a few degrees. Then, when you’re at work or away, have it set to 85 degrees, because there’s no sense in cooling the house when no one’s there to benefit from it. When you’re heading to bed, set it to 82 degrees. Even an adjustment of 1 degree can knock 3 percent from your cooling costs.

Use your fans

Fans use far less electricity than ACs, plus they can help your skin cool your body. You see where this is heading? That’s right, with the fan on, you can then bump up your thermostat by a few degrees when you’re at home, helping you cool off for less money. Also, make sure you know how to set your ceiling fans properly. In summer mode, they should send the air downward, creating a cooling breeze for everyone in the room. 

Keep the AC in top condition

At least once a season, clear any dust, leaves, dirt and other debris that’s built up on the refrigerator coils of your outdoor unit, and follow up as needed. These coils need a clear airflow to make your system work efficiently. Along with that, check your filter monthly. If your AC isn’t running as well as it should, call a technician to check it out. Fixing problems early will be much less costly than waiting until a full breakdown. Plus, when something’s wrong, your machine will only have to work harder and longer, so the energy savings should offset some repair costs. 

How to Lower Your Summer Electricity Bill | Bounce Energy Blog

Avoid the range

Find other ways to get dinner on the table without your oven or stove top. Use up those summer veggies and make chilled soups and salads for the evening meal. Or try cooking methods that give off less heat, such as a slow cooker or a microwave oven. Of course, firing up your trusty grill is the tried-and-true method of keeping the heat out of your house in the summer months.

Keep an eye on peak demand

When it’s really hot, everyone uses a lot of electricity to stay cool: factories, businesses and residents. In fact, on weekdays, between the hours of 3-5 p.m., usage reaches top levels. That means everyone should do their part by conserving where they can so demand doesn’t outpace the supply. During a peak alert, it’s a good time to reduce your use. For example, reschedule household tasks such as laundry and running the dishwasher, and bump up your thermostat by an extra degree or two.

Living in a hot climate has its challenges, but using these smart cooling strategies can help you stretch your resources while keeping you comfortable.

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