Saving on Your Summer Electric Bill

Everyone in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area knows and dreads it: summer energy costs jump as we run our air conditioning to escape the triple-digit heat. This summer we’ve already hit the triple digits and our electric bills have likely begun to climb. However, there are small, simple ways to keep summer energy costs down. By following some tips you can save on those nerve-wracking summer electric bills this year.

Consider your air conditioning temperature setting. Here are a few ways to cut costs by adjusting the A/C:

  • Many recommend keeping the temperature set around 78 degrees, which is comfortable for most people. With each degree higher that you set your A/C temperature, it is estimated you will save about 1% on your electric bill.
  • You can sometimes turn the air conditioner off when you go to bed if the temperature is supposed to be cool overnight. Avoiding running the A/C when it is not necessary will help you save.
  • Raise the temperature when you leave. If no one is home you can afford to let the temperature inside be higher during the day. However, it is very important that you do not turn the air conditioner completely off when you leave, as this will result in the system having to work harder to cool everything down once you turn it on again. Plus, who wants to come home to 95+ degrees? A more moderate setting of 82 degrees is more comfortable when you return and does not require overwhelming cooling power to get back to the usual setting. In the meantime, assuming a normal setting of 78 degrees, you’ve saved yourself around 4% of the cooling cost during the time you were gone.

There are other ways to reduce the energy consumed by the A/C during the summer. Here are some things you can do around the house to reduce the energy usage:

  • Use ceiling fans to help keep rooms cool. Fans are especially useful since they circulate cool air downward and can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler. Some estimate that ceiling fans can save up to 25% on the energy bill if used to cool down rooms as opposed to lowering the A/C setting.
  • Indoor lighting requires much less energy than having that extra A/C usage, so it is also beneficial to cover your windows during the day to prevent the sunlight from heating up rooms. Blinds or curtains that look decorative in the home are a good investment for this purpose.
  • Avoid taking hot showers or washing dishes with hot water while the sun is still out. Use the low-heat setting on the dryer or if you can find room, you can even hang clothes to dry outside in the sun and avoid using the dryer altogether. You might also try taking your barbeque outside instead of cooking indoors so that you avoid creating extra heat in the kitchen. These little adjustments in the summer prevent extra heat from escaping into the home and can therefore greatly reduce the A/C energy usage.

If you remember to take advantage of these tips, your next electric bill could be greatly reduced. If you want to find more tips and energy-efficient products that can also help you save, visit the Energy Star website.

About Heather Gram

STU UnGrad

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