Keeping Your Cool

SaveMoney-870x400I don’t know about you, but here in the Mid-South, the summer has been record-breaking hot! ¬†And with these temps, we are seeing astronomically high electric bills. So what can you do? Read on for tips and tricks to help keep your home cool and your bill low!

  • Service your air conditioner. If you haven’t had your unit inspected professionally in over a year, it’s time to do this. As a renter, you can also request that your landlord send someone out or pay for an inspection yourself (they are rather inexpensive). Trained professionals will check for leaks, re-charge with freon, check your condensate line and filters and make recommendations on any needed repairs.
  • Check for drafts. This will help you year-round, but check your windows and around your doors for places where the cool air escapes out of the house. Caulking and weatherstripping are quick, easy and inexpensive.
  • Block the sunlight. I love the view of¬†a beautiful summer day, but keeping my blinds open will drive my bill up fast! Keep blinds closed or add insulated drapery panels over windows to block heat and light and make it easier on your a/c to cool your home.
  • Use your ceiling fans. ¬†Did you know that the way your fan blades circulate have an impact on the temperature in that room?¬†During warmer months, you should run your fan in a “forward” (counter-clockwise) direction so that it fans the air, making you feel cool. Running ceiling fans without anyone in the room is a waste of electricity, so be sure you turn it off when you leave the room.
  • Programmable thermostats – use them. ¬†If your home is setup with a programmable thermostat, use it. Set your programmable thermostat to automatically adjust temperature settings after everyone leaves, and to return the setting to a more comfortable level an hour before everyone returns home. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install and will help stabilize your bill. ¬†You will also notice problems faster (ie: ¬†constant running of the unit, inability to maintain set temps) if you are not constantly adjusting it manually. Be sure your thermostat is located in a central area that does not have a heat source close by (tv or lamp) and is not in the path of airflow from a vent.
  • Crock pot dinners. Using your oven to cook for dinner is going to increase your bills. In addition to lighter meals (ie: ¬†salads and cold soups) during the summer, eating delicious and nutritious crock pot meals will help keep your house from heating up and it uses less energy than your oven does. ¬†A quick search online will find you a ton of recipes. We like the Crock-Pot Ladies site – if there is a way to make it in the crock-pot, you will find it here.
  • Laundry.
    • Wash in the evening
    • Wash in cold
    • Line dry (either outside or on an indoor rack)
  • Turn down your water heater. ¬†Go check out your water heater temps and be sure they are at the minimum recommended settings.¬†The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends setting your water heater at 120 degrees.
  • Turn off lights and replace light bulbs. You may be surprised at how much heat your light fixtures and other appliances can generate. A big screen TV or computer monitors not only draw electricity, but can put out some significant heat. ¬†Turning them off when not in use will help save. You may also want to consider LED bulbs -¬†they give off 90% less heat, as well as using 75% less energy.¬†They can be significantly more expensive than traditional bulbs, so consider only replacing the bulbs that get the most use and then slowly replace all bulbs in the house. You will find that LED bulbs also last longer than incandescent bulbs, so you will save money over the lifetime of the LED bulbs.
  • Turn off the heat dry in your dishwasher. Run the dishwasher in the evening after dinner and when the cycle is complete, open the door, pull out the racks and allow your dishes to air dry. They will be ready in the morning to be put away.
  • Turn off the pilot light. If you have a gas fireplace, shut the gas off in the summer. It is consuming energy to keep that pilot light lit as well as putting off heat.
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