Energy bills in the summer can be as extreme as heating bills in the winter. You want to stay cool, but dread opening the bill from the electric company in August. You can upgrade your home’s cooling system to the highest efficiency or convert to solar, but there are less drastic ways to help reduce your energy bills.
Windows and doors
Most heating and cooling efficiency is lost through the windows and doors of your home. You can replace your windows and add storm doors, but there are easier methods for reducing your expenses. Check for drafts around your windows and exterior doors. Replacing old caulking on windows and adding a foam insulation strip to your doors is inexpensive and requires very little time.
During cooler weather in the summer, use window fans to circulate air through your home. Remove or cover these units when you need to run air conditioning. During the hottest part of the day, close your drapes on windows that get direct sunlight. Adding insulated draperies will help in both the summer and winter.
Avoid using your oven during the afternoon and early evening. Both electric and gas ovens produce tremendous heat that your cooling system has to remove. If you must use your oven, try to do so in the early morning hours. Summer is a great time for cooking outdoors on a barbecue. This same tip applies for the use of a dishwasher. Dishwashers generate heat and can add to the humidity to your air. Wash your dishes the old-fashioned way, by hand.
Bathrooms and laundry areas
If you do not have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, consider adding one. Steam from showers and baths contributes to the humidity level throughout your home, making it less comfortable. Avoid using your dryer and hang your clothing to dry outside whenever possible. You will use less electricity and add less heat to your home. Check your dryer vent for any leaks. You do not want to pump more hot humid air into your home.
Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) for both energy savings and a reduction of heat. Shut off any unnecessary lights when they are not in use.
Finally, if your utility company has a level billing plan, use it. Instead of high heating bills in the winter and high cooling bills in the summer, you can make an average payment each month. While this in itself does not lower the total amount you pay, it does take some of the shock out of opening the bill in August.