It was the first summer in my new home. Excited to finally have central air conditioning, I found myself turning it on at the first sign of a humid day. (Which was pretty much every, single day.) I figured the costs of cooling my home wouldn’t exceed my winter heating bills. Can we say rookie mistake?!
I didn't account for how the summer heat would impact pretty much every part of the house. My electric bill doubled, and I scrambled for ways to change my habits before next month's electric charges took me by surprise and ate into my new homeowner budget.
Of course, major energy efficient upgrades like switching to solar panels, installing Energy Star-approved windows or sprucing up the installation can have an impact on your monthly bill. Since the summer weather is on the near horizon, now’s the perfect time to focus on the reduction of energy habits you can easily change. In fact, NerdWallet estimates that tweaking your usage can slash your electric bill by as much as 25%.
Avoid the same mistakes I made and take these steps to help cut down on summer electricity:
Adjust the temperature
The smaller the difference between the temp outside and inside your home, the better the outcome for your electric bill, according to the Department of Energy. You can save more by knocking the thermostat up when you're sleeping or away. (Helpful hint: A programmable thermostat can make this an automatic occurrence you never have to think about.)
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The other temperature to consider is inside your fridge and freezer. NerdWallet suggests setting the former to 38 degrees and the latter to 5 degrees. Your food will stay fresh, but the appliance won't have to use as much energy to maintain the cooler temperatures during the summer.
Block out the sun
I know - after a long and dreary winter, the thought of shielding yourself from the sun's glorious rays sounds painful. But letting the sun in for too long can only make your home hotter, leading your systems and appliances to work double time. As such, it helps to use blinds and shades to cover your windows and seal in the cool air.
Reconsider your shower routine
You can help to lower your energy usage by taking shorter and cooler showers. Use the bathroom fan religiously as well, so you can suck out the heat and humidity generated by your shower as quickly as possible.
Use your appliances wisely
When you can, use your microwave and grill to prepare food, as they won't generate as much excess heat as your oven. Direct Energy also advises cutting down on daytime use of appliances like laundry machines and dishwashers.
Making these changes can help lower your electricity bill and increase the efficiency of your cooling system. But it's still a good idea to prepare for unexpected problems. See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs.