As the summer months approach, we should all start thinking about lowering our utility bills. Not only is this the right thing to do (energy conservation is, after all, important), it can also reduce your total monthly bill.
So how can you join your neighbors in reducing the total use of electricity, gas, and water? There are countless small steps you can take, but we’d like to recommend a few effective measures that will lower your overall usage. Ranging from small changes in your daily routines to massive adjustments on your property, all of these tips will help you consume fewer resources.
11 Ways to Lower Your Summer Utility Bill
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can be one of the most energy-efficient tools you have in your home. They allow you to program specific hours when the home will be occupied so the temperature can adjust accordingly. For example, you can program the A/C unit to shut off about an hour before you leave for work, then turn it back on roughly an hour before you get back home.
This allows you to maintain comfort without running the air conditioner all day. It also removes the constant hassle of adjusting the temperature every time you leave.
Clean Your A/C Vents and Replace the Filter Often
An air conditioner needs clean vents and a quality air filter to function properly. Changing the filter on a regular basis is essential, as it allows air to flow smoothly from the vents into the unit and back to the rooms. The filter in an air conditioning unit, which protects the machine from dirt and debris, can become clogged, leading to poor air movement and a significant increase in energy use. Basically, a dirty air filter means the A/C unit has to work much harder.
A/C filters are easy to replace, and this maintenance step can be performed by most people; usually only a screwdriver is required, if that.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are not just for looks! While they add a high level of design and elegance to a room (assuming you have the right model!), ceiling fans can cool your room by as much as four degrees, allowing you to reduce your reliance on the air conditioner. If the days are cool enough, using ceiling fans throughout the house may allow you to completely shut off the air conditioner.
Use Natural Ventilation
Whenever the air is cool enough, especially at night, allow natural ventilation to keep your home comfortable. Opening windows, and placing a few ceiling fans on low, can draw outside air into your home and keep you cool as you sleep.
Install Solar Panels on the Property
This is a major step, but it’s also one that can significantly improve the quality of your home while reducing energy use. Solar panels are still expensive; installing them can cost tens of thousands of dollars, although government incentives like tax reductions and grants can help. There are also home-improvement loans that can fund this important energy-efficiency upgrade.
Solar panels can be installed on the roof of your home or on the yard, giving you convenience when choosing a location.
Block the Sun
The sun coming into your home can increase the heat and force your air conditioner to work even harder. Drapes, window treatments, and blinds are not just decorative; they can also help reduce your utility bill by blocking out the sun. Carefully-chosen window additions can prevent heat from building up in certain rooms, and they are especially important on the southern side of your house, where the sun will come in the strongest.
Check and Enhance the Home’s Insulation
Air leakages can be a major drain on your home’s energy efficiency, and they can cause your utility bill to skyrocket. You likely don’t notice it, but poor insulation could be a leading cause for your high utility costs in the summer. Have the insulation in your home inspected by a professional who can identify the main issues and provide simple solutions, such as weather-stripping the windows or spraying insulation in the attic.
Open Windows at Night, Shut Them in the Morning
Natural ventilation, as we have noted, can be a cost-effective way to reduce your energy costs. But leaving the windows open all day may not be an option when midday temperatures go above 90 degrees. Instead, keep your windows open throughout the cool nights, then shut them in the morning. If your insulation is reliable, and the outdoor temperatures are right, this strategy may trap enough cool air so you can stop using the air conditioner for most of the day.
Water Plants in the Early Morning and Late Evening
Electricity is not the only resource on your utility bills, and it’s not the only resource worth conserving. Water is also a resource that needs conservation. If you are a gardener, or simply want a green lawn, avoid watering during hot summer days. It’s better to water plants and lawns in the early morning or late evening, which allows the water to soak in before it evaporates.
Don’t like a hot kitchen? Neither does your air conditioner. Using a stove and range indoors will inevitably make it hotter in the house. If you have a grill, use it as much as possible during the summer so you don’t increase your utility bill.
Make Small Adjustments to Your Laundry Habits
Washing machines and dryers us a lot of water and electricity. You can’t stop doing laundry, but you can make subtle changes that reduce your overall utility bills. Using cold water instead of hot water will reduce the burden on your water heater, and drying clothes outside will help you avoid using a dryer, which is one of the biggest energy-users in your home.
Quality Loans and Reliable Service for Your Energy Upgrades
With these simple and effective steps, you can have a house that uses less energy, water, and other resources throughout the summer.
If you need an affordable loan to help improve the energy efficiency in your home, contact the team at Home & Mortgage. We can help you secure a HELOC, home equity loan, or even a cash-out refinance.
We’ll explain the details and advantages of each option so you can make the right choice or your home!