Summer is almost officially here. It’s felt like it was here for awhile though. The past several days here in Oklahoma we’ve had heat advisories. We had a very wet spring so the humidity is still quite high and we are getting into the low to mid 90’s, so the heat index has been in the 100’s.
Energy costs can get pretty out of control with these hot and humid days. It seems like the air conditioning never stops running. This can lead to some pretty crazy electric bills. There are some pretty easy things you can do around your home to help lower your bill this summer.
Lower Your Energy Bill
Use a Programable Thermostat
We like to have our house cooler at night because we don’t sleep well when it’s hot. At about 9:00 it automatically starts cooling down. You can also set it to be warmer when you aren’t home.
We both work at home so we got a programmable thermostat that can be controlled by an app on our phones. When we leave we can turn it up a degree or so and turn it down when we are headed back.
Using fans in the rooms people are actually in can allow you to turn up the thermostat a couple of degrees. It’s better to just be cooling the room where you are rather than the whole house.
Cooking can heat up your home a lot. Be sure you are cooking efficiently. Keeping lids on pots can help things heat up quicker. I also like to use a toaster/convection oven for most of my cooking as it works more efficiently and uses less energy than my oven.
Grilling is something else we do a lot during the summer. It really helps not heat up your home. An Instant Pot or slow cooker is another option that doesn’t heat up your home as much.
Change Your Bulbs
As you replace light bulbs consider switching to LEDs. They cost more to start with but they last a very long time and use a small amount of energy. They also don’t get as hot so they heat up your home less.
Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain mercury so they are safer to have in lamps and such where the bulbs could be broken. Just be aware that LEDs need ventilation so don’t put regular LEDs in enclosed fixtures, buy the vented LEDs for those kinds of fixtures.
Line Dry Your Clothes
Dryers are energy hogs. Even if you don’t line dry all of your clothes reducing the number of loads you run through the dryer will save you a lot of money. If you can’t or don’t want to install a clothes line you can get portable drying racks to put on your porch.
Wash Full Loads of Laundry and Dishes
When running your dishwasher or washing machine make sure you are doing full loads. Washers these days tend to have very high capacity so you can really cut down on the number of loads you are doing. Also remember to wash your clothes in cold water when possible.
Choose Energy Star Appliances
When you need to buy new appliances be sure to look for ones that are Energy Star. This means they more efficient than average. You will also find a tag in appliances that gives you a better idea how efficient they are.
Turn Off Electronic Devices
Did you know many devices use power even when not in use? If the device has any lights on when not in use it’s drawing power, some may even without lights.
If there is no reason for it to be on go ahead and make sure it’s unplugged. Using power strips is the easiest way to do this. Just flip the power strip off to cut power to things you aren’t using. They even make smart power strips that will turn off things when a control item is turned off. Some also have a spot for something you need on all the time so it stays on but power is cut to the other items on the strip.
Take Shorter Showers
Hot water heaters can use a lot of energy. Taking shorter showers and using less hot water can really help. They make waterproof timers to use in the shower to help keep you from staying in too long. They can really help if you are easily distracted in the shower and think you are spending less time than you really are.
Close Your Curtains
Closing your curtains can help keep sunlight from warming up your house. I like natural light so I close the ones where the direct sunlight is coming in but keep the others open.
Change Your Filter
Make sure you are changing your air conditioner filter every month. When it gets dirty it can restrict air flow and cause your air conditioner to work harder costing you more money.
Additionally, see if your energy company allows you to track your usage. We can check to see how much energy we have used each day and even each hour. It’s helpful for finding more ways to reduce our use.
How do you reduce your energy use? I’d love to hear your tips as well!