Summer brings longer days and higher electric bills. This can be challenging if you’re trying to stay within your budget and keep cool at the same time.
The good news is that with a little planning, it’s easy to enjoy your summer and stay cool while still keeping your electric bills from breaking your budget.
Here are five easy ways to get started.
1. Get with the Program
While electric rates can vary from state to state and region to region, electric bills consistently spike during the summer months. This is generally due to increased use of air conditioning.
If you’re out during the day, program your home thermostat so that you’re using less energy while you’re out, and program it to start cooling your home before you return.
Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Consider investing in one. It’s inexpensive, and if you don’t mind a little DIY work, it’s not that hard to install. According to Energy Star, they can save you up to $180 a year in energy costs.
Also, if you’re out of the house during the day, remember to lower the blinds. The sun can heat up a room very quickly, causing your air conditioner to over work itself.
2. Wash It Cold
When you do laundry over the summer, don’t run the hot water in the washer. Summer clothes tend to be made of lighter fabrics, so they come clean with less heat. Run your loads at cold or medium temperatures, and then tumble dry at lower settings. You can also take advantage of the longer days and hotter temperatures and hang your clothes outside.
Go through your house and see if there are appliances and electronic equipment that you aren’t using. Unplug electronics that aren’t being used, such as cell phone chargers, small appliances like toasters, or power strips that provide power for many appliances. If you’re planning to be away on vacation, unplug your big screen TV, and cable box.
4. Close Every Door
If there are parts of your home that you aren’t using, there’s no sense in cooling them. Make sure to keep basement or attic doors closed. The same should apply to bathrooms and other infrequently used rooms in the house.
5. Embrace the Freedom
Spend time out of the house, or put down the electronics and have a family game night. Either way, embrace the fun of summer and give your air conditioning and your entertainment center a rest.
Don’t worry; both will still be there when you come home.
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