6 Strategies to Lower Your Summer Utility Bill
Summer is approaching fast, which means you need to be prepared for everything summer brings. People are planning and preparing their landscaping goals, and they’re planning vacations. They’re even planning and preparing for how they’re going to lower their summer energy usage. While summer offers so many great things, it’s unfortunate that many people struggle to keep up with their utility bills. If lowering your summer cooling expense is on your mind as spring prepares to depart for summer, here are some suggestions to help you.
- Generate Less Heat
During the summer months, the afternoon is the hottest part of the day. This summer, make a plan to not run electronic devices during the afternoon. This includes the stove, dishwasher, dryer, televisions and desktop computers. Instead, use the microwave, hand wash dishes, hang your clothes outside and find other avenues for entertainment. Once you develop the habit, it won’t be difficult to stay on track.
- Switch to Solar
Once you have solar panels, solar electricity is free to use. There is no charge for collecting energy from the sun’s rays. Many people think installing solar panels is cost prohibitive, but actually, the opposite is true. With the help of government incentives, which will go away after 2022, a solar panel system can pay for itself in as little as eight years. And, for people who finance their system, usually the monthly payments replace the utility bill. Switching to solar will actually benefit your wallet in a relatively short amount of time.
- Keep the Shades Drawn
Allowing the sun to shine into your home warms it up significantly. It also causes your AC unity to work harder to keep your home cool. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day and you’ll start seeing significant savings. The lighter colored your window treatments are, the more they’ll deflect the rays of the sun.
- Seal Your Windows
Your windows account for as much as 25% of the heat your home gains. When was the last time you checked the caulking around your windows? When your old caulking starts to degrade you begin to lose air through the cracks in the seals. To prevent your cool air from disappearing to the outdoors, check your windows and apply new caulking and weather stripping where needed.
- Prevent Heat Gain
Rather than constantly battling the sun’s rays, you could avoid them altogether. Planting shade trees around your home will cool the area under the trees by as much as 25 degrees compared to the air by the road in front of your home. Planting trees on the south side of your home will provide the most benefit. A deciduous tree has the added benefit of losing its leaves in the winter to allow the sun to warm your home. Even after you first plant it, your windows will already begin to see shade. Within a decade, your new tree will also be shading your roof.
Smaller plants are beneficial to the area around your home as well. Have you ever walked on a concrete sidewalk barefoot in summer? If so, you know they can get sizzling hot. Planting shade plants and hedges can also shield your walkways which are notorious for absorbing heat.
- Pull in the Evening Air
Rather than run your air conditioning at night, how about giving it a break. Consider opening your windows and using a window fan to pull in the cool evening air. The window fan will use significantly less power than your central air unit and are inexpensive to purchase in comparison to the total you’re going to see on your electric bill.
You could also install a whole-house fan onto your ceiling to pull even more air. A whole-house fan will cost you several hundred dollars, but will also pay for itself in a short amount of time.
Stop fretting about summer, and start implementing some of these ideas. Summer is meant to be enjoyed!