Beating the summer heat will take a toll on your wallet this summer. Temperatures are expected to reach record breaking heights, and some states are already experiencing triple digits in these early days of summer.
The demands for power during the heat wave will shoot up, and many utility companies have already issued warnings of blackouts.
Here are some ways to make your energy bill go down, even in the height of summer.
Don’t skip your annual checkup
Your air conditioner can account for almost 50 percent of your energy bill, which is why it deserves some consideration when you’re looking to save. Schedule a service call for a professional checkup and cleaning to ensure the unit runs at its highest efficiency.
Change your air conditioner’s filters at least once a month. Proper air flow will not only keep the air clean but also maintain optimum efficiency of this appliance.
Use the dial
You need to adjust the temperature of your thermostat throughout the day. Turn it up when you’re at work to save energy. Invest in a programmable thermostat or timer to turn the temperature down just before you get home. Program your settings to lower the temperature just before you get home, so your house will be cool only when it’s occupied. Use the same approach with your heat during winter. Adjusting your temperature will take as much as $150 off your annual energy bill.
Turn it off
Some appliances consume energy when you leave them plugged in – even if you turn the device off. Use a power strip, so you can disconnect multiple appliances at once. A strip also helps if your outlets are not easy to access.
Replace your light bulbs
Fluorescent bulbs will cost more than standard bulbs, but you’ll reap the benefits of your investment in a few short months. The cost to operate a standard incandescent bulb is six times more than the cost for fluorescent bulbs – and fluorescents last 10 times longer. Available in different shapes and sizes, fluorescent bulbs provide illumination similar to standard bulbs, so the only difference is a long term savings. Don’t forget to turn off the lights whenever you leave the room.
Check your rates
Shop around for a new energy provider and save 5-15 percent a month. Alberta rates from http://www.albertaenergyproviders.ca/ are just one example of the benefits you’ll get from checking out deregulated energy providers. If you’re concerned about the increasing price of energy, you can switch to a fixed-rate plan and pay the same rate for a year or more.
Replace your appliances
If your appliances and air conditioner are more than 10 years old, they’re probably costing you a small fortune to operate. Replace your appliances for Energy Star models and you’ll save as much as 10-20 percent on your electric bills. Consider that replacing your old conditioner that has an energy efficiency rating (EER) of 5 with one that has an EER of 10 will reduce the cost of cooling the room by 50 percent.
These simple tasks will add up to noticeable savings and any money you spend must be considered a worthwhile investment.
Jean Linder is a home inspector. She loves to share her best home money saving tips on personal finance blogs.