Summer is a favorite time of year for many people. Of course, the warmer the weather gets, the higher our summer utility bills seem to climb. Thankfully, lowering your utility bills doesn’t have to mean investing in solar panels, or even suffering until the change of seasons. With just a few minor adjustments, you can drive your energy costs down and turn up the summer fun.
Keep Your Air Conditioning System Clean: Whether you live somewhere that is sunny all year or your air conditioning unit is only operating for a few months of the year, air conditioning and summer go hand-in-hand. Most people shy away from flipping the switch until summer heat becomes nearly unbearable. Simply the thought of a higher utility bill often causes more stress than the lack of cool air. The good news: When you keep your air conditioning vents open and clean, your air conditioning unit operates more effectively. Changing out the filter in your unit regularly can also help minimize dust, dirt, and other contaminants from blowing through your vents, causing buildup. Not only do you not want that buildup blowing throughout your home, it can also cause your air conditioning unit to run much less effectively.
Promote Air Flow: This may seem like a blatantly obvious idea, but when you positively promote airflow in your home, you can help lower your energy costs. That’s because even an air conditioning unit may have trouble keeping your living space at a single temperature. However, when you promote the flow of comfortable air throughout the room, you can also help lower your energy costs. Start by circulating the air in a room with your ceiling fans, ensuring they are spinning in the proper direction. In summer, a counter-clockwise spin will help to push hot air in a room up and out of the way. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, spend a little money on a box fan at your local hardware store instead.
Do Laundry Differently: A lot of people don’t realize the energy costs associated with doing your laundry. Most households are constantly washing clothes, towels, and bed sheets–but most people aren’t doing it the right way, at the right time of day. Using a cold wash instead of a warm one will help to reduce energy costs, as heating the water is what causes your bill to skyrocket. While there’s not a great way around using the dryer, you might consider using a drying rack or outdoor line if you have the time and patience. Also, stuffing your washer until it is full is never a good idea. Doing more loads of laundry may seem like it’s a greater use of energy, but in fact the opposite is true. Finally, check with your power company to see if they offer reduced rates during non-peak hours. If so, doing your laundry early in the morning or late at night may help you lower your utility bill.
Properly Load the Dishwasher: Ah, the great debate–how do you load your dishwasher in the most effective way? As it turns out, where you place your dishes actually does matter. While the bottom rack works better for dishes, pots, and pans, the top rack should be dedicated to glasses and bowls. Ensure your bowls are slanted in the racks so that the water drains. Never place large flat items, like cookie pans or cutting boards, parallel to the dishwasher door, as they can potentially keep detergent from properly cleaning your dishes, forcing you to run another cycle. Finally, know that the detergent you use matters. Discount detergents will leave your dishes filmy and probably won’t take care of stubborn food or grease. Spend a little extra on the good stuff.
There are a lot of ways that you can reduce your utility bills this summer, despite the tendency for these bills to skyrocket. The good news is that these things don’t often cost a lot of money or require much of an effort. Don’t sacrifice your comfort for a lower bill. Just get smart about how you can save money.