Saving Energy – Tips to Lower Your Monthly Costs In Summer Months
The past few years have found all of us looking at rising energy costs which seem to have been multiplied by the slow economy. Whether you are thinking about ways to “go green” or you simply want to lower your monthly out of pocket energy costs, we’ve compiled some tips to help you out. This is the first in a series of articles on lowering your monthly energy costs.
The largest energy cost most of us face in the summer months is cooling our homes with air conditioning. There are several things you can do to lower your A/C costs.
Tip 1: Make sure you change your filters regularly. Most filter manufacturers suggest changing them every 3 months whether they are dirty or not. The filters break down over time and after 3 months don’t stop as many particles as when new. Clean filters allow air to flow more freely through the unit which in turn helps the unit not work as hard to move the air throughout the house.
Tip 2: Next, consider lowering your thermostat setting a couple of degrees, especially on those very warm days. Most A/C units are only designed to keep the inside air at 20 degrees less than the outside air. This means that if it is 100 degrees outside your unit will be working way too hard if you have your thermostat set at 75. Try turning the thermostat up to 78 or even 80 if you are still comfortable. On a 100 degree day the difference in having your thermostat at 80 vs. 75 could cut the unit’s running time almost in half.
Tip 3: Also, make sure you use fans around your home. 80 degree air which is being circulated around the room actually feels much cooler than 80 degree air which is stagnant. Fans also help your unit to work less by circulating the air more efficiently between the air duct registers and returns.
Tip 4: Drink as much water as possible during the summer as well. Not only is drinking more water good for your health it also helps you to feel cooler. The more water you drink the more hydrated your skin will be. Hydrated, moisture rich skin feels cooler when air flows across it than does dry skin. So, drink up for your health, your comfort level and your lower energy costs.
Tip 5: Pull the shades. We aren’t suggesting that you live in a cave, however caves are very cool, just cut down on the amount of direct sunlight that enters your home. If you don’t like this option because you like to have as much light coming in your house as possible, you can always consider upgrading to new energy efficient windows. Energy Star rated windows with Low E film on them block out the majority of the sun’s direct heat but still allow all the light in. We’ll discuss energy efficient windows more in a later article; please look for it soon.
Tip 6: If you live in an older home and are still using the original A/C unit it may be time to consider upgrading. Units which are manufactured today are many times more efficient than the ones built 20-30 years ago. Yes it is a large upfront cost to replace an A/C unit, but if you choose the right one the savings can easily pay for the upfront costs in a relatively short period of time. You should at least invite a few A/C contractors to come out and give you information and bids for replacing your unit. Most of them will come out for free and should be able to tell you how long it would take to pay for your upfront costs with the savings you’ll see based on the specifics of your home. And, of course we suggest doing all the other tips we’ve given to help reduce your costs as well. Using several money saving tips at the same time will help you recoup your costs even sooner.
We cannot go without saying in any article about saving energy that the best way to save energy is to create your own. It’s actually easier than it may seem. You can find many websites on the net that offer guides to building your own solar panels and wind turbines which you can use to power your home.
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Many people are completely powering their own homes and even selling electricity back to the power companies. This is probably one of the best ways to “go green” and save money around your home. Please visit this link to view all of our articles in this series of saving energy.