Late spring through the end of summer are when the temperatures in North Texas really heat up! There are a lot of good things that come with warm weather – cookouts, sporting events, family trips, and checking off those home projects you have been putting off. Unfortunately, warm weather also brings some not-so-good things, like an increase in your electric bill. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, the United States used more energy last year than ever recorded before! Our guess is that the energy usage will continue to climb as the years go on. The good news is, there are a number of things (easy things!) you can do to use less energy and still keep your home cool; benefiting both the environment and your wallet!
Incorporating these simple changes around your house and in your daily routine could end up saving you hundreds of dollars on your electric bill over the span of a year:
1. Seal Around Windows and Doors
Openings and cracks around doors and window sills will make your air conditioning unit work harder to keep your interior cool in the summer, as the air continuously escapes. One of the best ways to keep the cool air in is to caulk and weather-strip around drafty doors and windows.
2. Look for Other Sources of Drafts
Door and window openings are not the only places cool air may be escaping. Take a walk around your home with an easy-to-use spray foam insulation and look for openings and gaps around pipes, chimneys, lights, windows and basement brick and cement work. Sealing these areas will also help keep your home warmer come winter time.
3. Turn Off and Unplug Electronics
Did you know that leaving your electronics plugged in, even when you are not using them, uses electricity? That’s right, things you’re not even using could be adding dollars to your electric bill each month! A good tip is to unplug as many items as you can when they are not in use, or use a socket adapter with a shut-off timer to prevent being charged for standby power.
4. Wash Less Frequently
Try to only wash when you have enough to completely to fill up the washer. Larger loads of laundry and dishes means washing less frequently, thus using less energy! Also, try to wash on a cold cycle when you can instead of using hot water for every load.
5. Choose to Air-Dry
Your clothes dryer uses a lot of electricity — up to 40% of the monthly usage in the average household. Using a clothes line to dry just a few loads a month in the summer can substantially reduce your electricity usage. Opting to line-dry your clothes will also help keep your home cooler, requiring less output from your air conditioner.
The same is true for your dishwasher: choosing the air-dry option over the heated drying cycle will help save you money in the long run.
6. Toss a Towel in the Dryer
If line-drying your laundry is not a realistic option for you, adding a dry towel to your dryer load can significantly reduce drying times!
7. Flip the Switch
You might remember your mother telling you to turn off the lights when you left the room; hopefully you still practice this good habit! Leaving the light on in a room accumulates heat and causes more energy consumption. If you find you are having a hard time with this, installing a motion-censored shut off switch might be a good idea. Using natural lighting and task lighting are also good options for keeping your interior bright without adding to your electric bill.
8. Adjust the Water Heater
Water heaters are the second highest source of energy use in the home. Adjusting the thermostat to 120 degrees F will require less electricity and keep you from accidentally burning yourself!
9. Shorten Your Shower Time
Did you know that shortening your shower by just a few minutes can save you up to $30 a year?! Also, the shorter the shower, the less heat will accumulate inside the house. Remember to turn off the water when shaving, washing your hands, and brushing your teeth as well!
10. Replace Filters Regularly
Check your AC filters once a month and replace them regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and cause your AC unit to overwork, which could result in a big repair expense later on.
11. Get Annual Energy Check-ups
Your utility company may offer free energy audits that can identify expensive energy losses throughout your home, such as in unfinished rooms, attics, and leaky ductwork. Sealing your ducts can provide big savings on energy bills and help regulate the temperature throughout the house.
12. Consider a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats have become a popular feature among homeowners. They are very handy in that they automatically adjust the temperature during the day or at night, keeping you from forgetting as you leave for work in the morning or crawl into bed at night. Installing this smart technology can save you up to $100 a year!
13. Update Your Bulbs
LED light bulbs are a brighter, longer-lasting option and they use less energy than traditional bulbs. You might pay more up-front, but they use up to 25% less energy and can last up to twelve times longer and light like the old-fashioned incandescent ones do!
14. Switch to a laptop or tablet
A big desktop computer uses significantly more energy and puts off more heat than a laptop or tablet. If it’s time to recycle your computer, consider replacing it with a smaller option.
15. Reduce Heat in the Kitchen
Avoid using the oven in summer will reduce the heat in your home and save on your home cooling costs. Try using the microwave, crockpot, toaster oven, or outdoor grill instead.
We hope you’ll make an effort to incorporate these practices into your daily routine as the months go on and temperatures start to rise! If you need help with preparing your home for spring and summer, Mike’s Guys Handyman would be happy to help! Contact us today for more information.