9 Ways to Keep Your Summer Energy Bills Low–While Still Keeping Your Home at a Comfortable Temperature
Have you noticed a significant increase in your monthly energy bill this summer? It probably happens every summer and you may be inclined to think it’s only natural and unavoidable. On the contrary, there are several ways to minimize the effect the warm summer temperatures have on your energy cost. Some of these fixes may even help you save money on energy all year round!
In this post, we explore your options when it comes to keeping your home comfortable during the summer while still keeping your bills low.
Short-term Fixes to Lower Your Energy Savings
Quick and easy, these energy-saving solutions require little to no extra investment!
1. Be mindful of the thermostat.
Every degree you raise your thermostat above 72o, you save up to 3% more on your cooling expenses. The goal is not to make your house nice and chilly, but to get it to a bearable temperature, where you’re neither warm nor cold. Running the ceiling fan, or using a portable fan can also help cool down a room without overworking the central air system and raising your bills too high.
There’s also no need to keep the AC going when no one is home, so it’s best to make a point to turn it off before you leave.
2. Block out the Sun.
The extra sunlight might be contributing to why your rooms are so warm. Although letting the light in gives your house a warm glow, on some of the hottest days of the summer, consider drawing the curtains or lowering the blinds to make it easier to cool down your home.
3. Fire up that new grill!
While it may be hot outside, it might even be hotter inside! Your kitchen is full of heat-producing appliances. A cookout is a fun way to avoid raising your home’s temperature while also enjoying the great outdoors!
4. Turn off unused electronics and appliances.
If no one is using it, turn it off. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of electricity. Some devices have to be completely unplugged in order for it to stop consuming electricity.
This one sounds like a no-brainer, right? Somehow many of us still don’t follow this advice. Perhaps it’s because we tend to underestimate how much of an impact keeping unused electronics plugged in and/or turned on makes. This is sometimes the case because we tend to think in terms of how much of an impact a single device makes. Yes, keeping a phone charger plugged in when it’s not charging anything only uses a tiny amount of electricity, but collectively, all the unnecessarily plugged in devices will equate to higher bills. Being mindful of one device at a time helps you get into the habit of making sure all other devices are accounted for.
Moreover, certain devices such as computers, gaming consoles, and TVs tend to heat up, causing the already warm rooms to feel warmer. If such devices are kept close to a thermostat, the thermostat may sense too much heat and your AC unit may spend extra energy to keep the house cool (see #1).
Long-term Fixes to Keep Your Energy Cost Low
These solutions require the extra monetary investment, but they pay for themselves over time. Not only that, they also lower your bills all year round, year after year.
5. Replace your bulbs with LEDs.
If you need to replace the sunlight with artificial lighting, make sure you’re not inadvertently driving up the energy bills. Incandescent bulbs heat up, making the atmosphere in the room warmer. If you haven’t done so yet, make the switch to LED lighting. Not only do they not heat up as much (they produce half as much heat), they also don’t use up as much energy (75% less)! They also last longer. It’s an all-around smart investment!
6. Keep the cool air in.
Air sealing your home is one investment that starts to pay for itself as soon as the sealant is installed. Not only will this allow you to keep cool air in during the summer, but it will also keep cold air from coming in during the winter.
We recommend air sealing your home with spray foam because it provides many benefits. For example, apart from controlling your home’s internal temperature, spray foam’s air sealing qualities help reduce the amount of dust, allergens, and pollutants entering your home, helping to protect you and your family from allergies.
7. Make sure your walls are properly insulated.
Another use for spray foam is insulation and one of the first areas to insulate are your walls. Properly insulated walls allow your home to maintain ideal temperatures by helping it cool down and warm up faster. This also means less work for your AC unit in the summer, which translates to lower bills (see #1). Spray foam insulation is especially useful in filling in cavity walls of older homes. Installing this type of insulation will also increase your home’s property value, so you can enjoy its benefits, even after you move out!
8. Insulate your attic, too!
A common insulation type is fiberglass insulation. Most likely, your attic is insulated with fiberglass. Make sure your fiberglass insulation is still in good condition because it can sometimes get dusty, moldy, or even torn apart by pests. If you need to get new fiberglass installed, make sure you know your area’s specific building codes before you make a purchase. Alternatively, you can always call an expert to safely remove your old insulation and replace it with new, code-compliant fiberglass insulation.
If you’re willing to make an upgrade, the attic is another great place to use spray foam insulation. You get all the benefits of fiberglass insulation plus more–without the drawbacks! This post by our suppliers at ICYNENE® outlines the key differences between fiberglass insulation and spray foam insulation.
Remember, a properly insulated attic can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 20%! Think about how those savings compound year after year.
9. Don’t forget the basement!
Insulating your basement gives you similar benefits to those you get by insulating your attic. However, your needs may vary, depending on what your basement looks like (i.e. finished versus unfinished). Consult with your home insulation contractor to figure out the best solution for your particular needs. Some home insulation companies offer in-home consultations for free!