Summer usually means higher energy bills. This year will be no exception, especially with increasing prices, record heat waves, and the threat of wildfires everywhere that force people to stay indoors. According to resources, a combination of limited natural gas and coal supplies, an ongoing drought in the Western US, and a statewide prediction for extreme heat are expected to cause domestic energy bills to rise even further this summer. In fact, households should expect at least a 40% spike in their cost.
Staying cool and healthy can come at a high price. But with a bit of preparation and planning, you can also beat the summer heat and reduce your energy cost.
- Maintain your Air Cooling Systems
Cooling devices such as fans and air conditioners are easy ways to cool off. Maintaining these systems is equally important as using them regularly.
It is estimated that replacing a dirty, clogged air conditioner filter with a clean one can save 5% to 15% on energy bills. You will have higher electricity costs with unmaintained A/Cs and air filters. Air ducts are clogged when too full, preventing cooler air from entering your home. Therefore, you use more energy and receive less cool air, so maintain and keep your air filters regularly!
- Not using it? Unplug it!
If you keep your appliances plugged in even when they aren’t in use, you might want to change that this summer.
The table above shows you a sample of devices and appliances typically found at home that consumes energy while on standby.
When appliances are left on standby power, they can actually contribute to higher energy bills. The US Department of Energy estimates that plugged-in appliances on standby consume 5-10% of home energy, costing the average American family $100 a year.
Make it a habit to unplug an appliance after using it or when no one is in the room.
- Set your Thermostat Correctly
By adjusting your thermostat to the correct temperature, you can reduce your electric bills at home while maintaining good health.
Increasing your thermostat by one degree can save you up to 3% on your cooling costs. Try to keep your thermostat just cool enough to keep you comfortable during the summer, then raise it a couple of degrees.
You don’t need to change the temperature manually with a smart or programmable thermostat. These thermostats can automatically adjust your home’s climate control even while you’re away. Programmable thermostats can also indicate when to replace air filters or HVAC system problems, which can improve heating and cooling efficiency.
- Be Smart about Ventilation
When the weather is nice and cool at night, turn off your air conditioning system and open your windows to let cool air in and hot air out. In addition to saving energy, it also helps to eliminate stale air that contains harmful toxins. Keeping blinds drawn during the day and windows closed can help keep the interior of your home cool by preventing the heat from warming the space.
- Improve your Air Quality
Do you know that indoor air quality can improve your home’s energy efficiency? Pollution indoors occurs when harmful gases and particles are released into the air and build up to unhealthy levels due to inadequate ventilation and poor heating and cooling. Taking care of the air quality in your home will improve the health and well-being of everyone in the home. Plus, you’ll be able to optimize ventilation, heating, cooling, and lighting. Understanding your indoor air quality can help you plan when to use and turn off your furnace, air conditioning, and ventilation systems during the summer.
3 easy tips to reduce your standby power loads. (n.d.). Energy.Gov. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/3-easy-tips-reduce-your-standby-power-loads
Maintaining your air conditioner. (n.d.). Energy.Gov. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner
Programmable thermostats. (n.d.). Energy.Gov. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats
Short-Term energy outlook. (n.d.). U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/
uHoo. (2022, June 16). Top 3 indoor air quality issues during summer and how to resolve them. UHoo | Clean Air for All. https://getuhoo.com/blog/home/top-3-indoor-air-quality-issues-during-summer-and-how-to-resolve-them/
Wade, W., & Malik, N. S. (2022, May 24). Open With Care: That Next Power Bill Could Shock You. Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/electric-bill-increases-worsen-inflation-pain