It’s hot and you’re stuck in your home all summer. You’re using more energy than ever before. How can you control how much energy you’re using this summer and save on your electric bill?
In this guide, we’ve compiled all the best energy saving tips from all over the internet into one handy guide.
In this article you will learn the top 9 ways you can save energy starting today, packed full of tips to lower your electric bill this summer.
How to keep the heat out
Being water wise
Keep the air moving with fans
And the number one way you can save on your electric bill.
Let’s get started.
9. Thermostat hacks
In the summer, you may be tempted to keep your AC unit running nonstop. Or at least set the thermostat significantly lower than the outside temperature. But according to the Department of Energy, by setting your thermostat between 75 and 78 degrees in the summer, you can save up to 10% in energy costs each year. In fact, every degree above 72 degrees can save you up to 3%.
Don’t forget: The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more money you can save on your electric bill.
Don’t forget to turn off your AC unit or fans when you leave the house. Consider a programmable thermostat.
For maximum energy affordability make sure your AC unit is running smoothly. Here are some tips from the Department of Energy:
- If your AC unit is over 10 years old, get it checked and replaced if necessary.
- Replace your air filters every month.
- Have the duct system checked for leaks with regular maintenance.
- Move lamps or TV sets away from your room air-conditioning thermostat, as the heat they give off could keep the AC running more than needed.
- Dust can build up over time in the air intake vents so get in a habit of vacuuming them regularly.
- Move furniture and other objects that may be blocking the airflow.
8. Keep the Heat Out
If the heat is getting inside or the cool air is escaping outside, your AC unit works harder and therefore will raise your electric bill.
Here are a few easy ways can you prevent this:
- Install blinds, hang curtains or invest in storm windows.
- Keep the curtains and blinds closed throughout the day or at least the hours of the day the sun hits your windows.
- Add weather stripping to your doors and windows.
- Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
Bonus Tip: Open the interior doors of your house to keep air flowing. Stagnant air can feel 4 degrees warmer!
7. Appliance Savers
Did you know? Appliances, like refrigerators and washers and dryers, consume 20% of the energy we typically use at home, according to the Department of Energy.
Here are great tips for some of the most energy-sucking appliances.
Fridge: Keep it Cool
- Set the thermostat between 35 and 38 degrees for the refrigerator and between 0 and 5 degrees for the freezer.
- Check the refrigerator temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. Check the freezer temperature by placing a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
- Check the door seal and vacuum the coils.
- Make sure your fridge is always full of food (or even just jugs of water), so there’s less air space for it to have to cool.
- Don’t leave your refrigerator door open.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
Dryer: Give it a Rest
- Line dry clothes whenever you can.
- Run full loads only.
- Clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use.
- Switch loads when the dryer is warm to use the remaining heat for the next cycle.
- Dry appropriate sized loads for your machine.
For even more ways to save in the laundry room check out this article.
Dishwasher: Ditch the Rinse
- Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned- or dried-on food.
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full (but not overfull).
- Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use.
- Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
- When purchasing a new dishwasher, look for the Energy Star label. They are required to use 4.25 gallons of water per cycle or less.
More great summer energy saving tips around the kitchen here.
6. Go Green
Whether you own your home or not, there are a few different ways plants can help you stay cool in the summer.
If you own your home: Plant trees around your house to simultaneously increase curb appeal and lower your utility bill. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, If you are planning for the long-term, planting trees around your home can significantly reduce your energy usage.
You can reduce your energy bill by 3% in five years by planting one tree on the west side of your home.. By 5 years, your savings can reach nearly 12%.
If you rent your home: Keeping plants inside can also keep your home cooler. Here are some of the best plants to buy to keep your house cool. As an added benefit, a lot of these plants help purify the air of your home.
- Aloe Vera
- Areca Palm Tree
- Ficus Tree
- Snake Plant
- Golden Pothos
Read more about why each of these is beneficial to your home.
5. Unplug It
Be mindful about electronics and appliances when you’re not using them. Everyone knows to turn off the lights when they leave a room to save electricity, so do the same for your electronics and appliances.
Unplug chargers, TVs, computers and other small electronics when you’re not using them. This could save you up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
Bonus Tip: A super easy way to do this is to plug all your electronics and appliances into a power strip and simply snap it off when you leave the house or go to bed.
4. Get Water Wise
You may not think about the impact water usage has on your electric bill, but according to the Department of Energy, water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.
Here are a few ways to stay water wise:
- Cut down on your hot water use: wash clothes in cold water and avoid taking long, hot showers.
- After a shower or bath, run the fan to reduce humidity.
- In the summer, water usage usually increases — whether it’s watering your lawn or taking more post-swim showers. Keep outdoor watering costs down by only watering grass and plants in the early morning or at dusk, so the water doesn’t evaporate in the summer heat.
- Install low-flow water fixtures on shower heads, toilets and even your outdoor sprinkler.
- If you have a pool, keep it covered. Covering your pool can significantly reduce (or even eliminate) heating costs. A good cover will keep your pool 10 degrees warmer, on average.
Want even more summer energy saving tips about water? Read more from the Department of Energy.
3. Keep the Air Flow Moving
Investing in some fans can significantly help by circulating air and keeping you cool. In fact, using fans means you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level.
Here are some tips about fans to keep in mind:
- Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside.
- Buy ventilating fans that use less energy.
- Install a whole house fan in your attic. On some days, a whole house fan can be used in place of your air conditioner. Whole house fans work by drawing cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents.
- Be sure to turn the fans off when you leave the room. According to the Department of Energy, fans are designed to cool people, not rooms by creating a wind chill effect.
2. Change Your Bulbs
It’s a bright idea to think about your lighting when it comes to saving on your electric bill. Here are a few great summer energy saving tips as a reminder about how to be as energy efficient as possible with your home lighting.
- Swap out less efficient incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or CFL bulbs.
- Consider lighting options that operate at cooler temperatures.
- Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting whenever possible: but not direct sunlight as that will heat up your house fast.
Bonus tip! According to the Department of Energy, there are ideal times of when to turn off your lights according to what type of bulb you have. Follow these guidelines:
Should be turned off whenever they are not needed, because they are the least efficient type of lighting. 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10% results in light.
While halogens are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, they use the same technology and are far less efficient than CFLs and LEDs. Therefore, it is best to turn these lights off whenever they are not needed.
Since they are already very efficient, the cost effectiveness of turning CFLs off to conserve energy is a bit more complicated. A general rule-of-thumb is this:
- If you will be out of a room for 15 minutes or less, leave it on.
- If you will be out of a room for more than 15 minutes, turn it off.
The operating life of a light emitting diode (LED) is unaffected by turning it on and off. While lifetime is reduced for fluorescent lamps the more often they are switched on and off, there is no negative effect on LED lifetime. This characteristic gives LEDs several distinct advantages when it comes to operations.
1. Why You Can Only Go So Low
The real secret is that no matter what you do to lower your electricity bill, you can only get it so far. All electric companies charge a base rate that covers the cost of electricity transmission. You can change how much power you use, but you can’t change the base rate.
What can you do about this?
If you own your home, you may be a great candidate for switching to solar. Find out more.