Monday, June 21, 2010

50+ Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill This Summer

Summer is the time of year when most homeowners' electric bills hit the roof. Air conditioning is the primary culprit in causing summer electric bills to rise, but other appliances in your home also get heavy usage in the summer and can cause your electric bill to skyrocket. In honor of today being the first day of summer, here are 52 easy tips that you can do all summer long to keep your electric bill in check, stay cool and still enjoy the summer season to its fullest.

  1. The ideal thermostat setting is between 75 and 78 degrees in the summertime. Set your thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature when using your air conditioning. Moving the thermostat up just one degree could lower your electric bill as much as 3 to 5 percent.

  2. Keep air conditioner filters clean. Aluminum mesh filters may be washed; fiberglass filters should be replaced, usually on a monthly basis.

  3. Get an air conditioning tune-up. Your air conditioner will run more efficiently with a lower risk of breaking down.

  4. Keep air vents and ducts clear of obstructions.

  5. Use duct tape to seal cracks and leaks on any sections of air duct on your central air conditioning system.

  6. Close the drapes on the sunny side of the house during the day.

  7. Leave storm windows and doors in place when the air conditioner is running.

  8. If you leave your home for vacation or extended period, leave your air conditioner off.

  9. If you cool your home with window air conditioning units, place them on the north side of the house. Keep window air conditioner vents free from obstructions.

  10. Keep lamps, TV sets and appliances away from your thermostat. Heat from these devices can cause your air conditioning system to run longer or unnecessarily.

  11. When you turn on your air conditioner, do not set the thermostat at a lower than normal temperature. It will not cool the room any faster, but it will use more electricity.

  12. Clean your outside condenser coil once a year by spraying with a hose at low pressure.

  13. Plant shade trees and shrubs around your home to shield from sunlight and heat.

  14. Apply reflective film on all south facing windows to reduce solar heating of your home's interior.

  15. Use window or whole house fans to ventilate your home. Use ceiling fans to cool kitchens and other hot indoor rooms and to evenly distribute conditioned air.

  16. Take brief, cool showers with minimal hot water. Showers use less water and energy than baths.

  17. Install a low-flow shower head; it can reduce water usage by 50-70 percent.

  18. Set your hot water heater thermostat to 120 degrees.

  19. Insulate the pipes going into and out of the hot water heater tank. Add an insulated blanket around your water heater if it's an older model.

  20. Turn the water heater off when you're gone longer than a weekend.

  21. Run your dishwasher only when it's full.

  22. Replace conventional light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent lLght (CFL) bulbs. This will save up to 75 percent in lighting energy, produce more light and last up to 10 times longer.

  23. Use one large light bulb rather than several small ones. A 100-watt bulb produces more indoor light and uses less energy than two 60-watt bulbs.

  24. Switch to tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs; they cut lighting costs by about 15 percent.

  25. Use low-watt bulbs where lighting is not critical.

  26. Use dimmer switches in as many rooms as possible.

  27. Dust your light bulbs. Dust on bulbs can reduce light output by up to 50%.

  28. Place floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners. The reflection off the walls will give you more light.

  29. Turn off all lights, TVs, stereos and radios if no one will be in the room.

  30. Set your refrigerator temperature between 36 degrees and 40 degrees. Set freezer temperature between 0 degrees and 5 degrees. Use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to check the settings.

  31. Wash full loads of clothes in the coolest water possible. Rinse clothes in cold water.

  32. Toss a dry towel into your dryer to absorb moisture from the load of moist clothes. Your dryer won't have to run as long.

  33. Be sure to clean your dryer's lint filter after every load

  34. Place full loads of clothing in the dryer, but don't overload.

  35. Don't over-dry clothes. Stop running the dryer as soon as clothes are dry, or use the moisture sensor control to automatically shut ohe dryer off.

  36. Dry multiple loads of clothing one right after another. The dryer is already heated so, you'll use less energy because the dryer is already heated.

  37. Skip the dryer altogether. Hang your clothes on a clothes line to dry in the sun.

  38. Let warm foods cool to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator.

  39. Place the refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, heat vents and direct sunlight.

  40. Keep refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Don't make unnecessary trips to the fridge.

  41. Keep the freezer full. A full freezer loses less cold air when you open the door.

  42. Defrost freezers when the frost builds up to 1/4" thick.

  43. Vacuum dust and dirt from refrigerator coils so refrigerator runs more efficiently.

  44. Try to cook several items in the oven at the same time.

  45. Avoid pre-heating your oven whenever possible.

  46. Use the microwave for items that need a quick cooking or reheating.

  47. Use crockpots and slow cookers whenever possible.

  48. Defrost foods before baking or microwaving; it will use 1/3 less energy than starting with frozen food.

  49. If you're going to clean your oven, use the self-cleaning cycle right after you finish baking. That will give the self-cleaning cycle a head start in heating the oven.

  50. Give your oven and stove a vacation. Barbecue or grill outdoors whenever possible.

  51. Switch from a desktop to a laptop computer. Laptops use much less electricity and throw off much less heat.

  52. Go outside! Take advantage of the warm weather and extended sunlight. Eat, read, talk and have fun outside as much as you can!

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