Taming Your Summer Utility Bills

By William G. Beamer on September 17, 2015
Categories: TIPS & TRICKS

Here are six ways to remain cool for the rest of the summer and simultaneously reduce your utility bills:

1. Replace your air filters and seal ducts.

During the summer, experts suggest replacing your air filters once a month. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow, which means the A/C must run longer to cool a house. It’s been estimated that replacing a dirty air filter can cut your energy consumption by 15%. Sealing and insulating ductwork can improve your energy efficiency by 20% or more.

2. Buy a smart thermostat.

Many thermostats seems too complicated for consumers who tend to just adjust them manually including when they leave the house. New smart thermostats are embedded with software that “learns” its owners preferences based on how the temperature is adjusted over a week or so and sets a schedule based on those preferences. Proximity sensors can detect when the house is empty and when people arrive and build those patterns into the schedules. The thermostats can be controlled with a smart phone when you are away.

3. Properly use a ceiling fan

Check to see if your ceiling fan is going in the right direction. In the summer months, your fan should spin counter-clockwise to push the hot air up and out. During the winter, the fan needs to spin clockwise to push the rising hot air back down. There should be a switch on your ceiling fan to change the direction.

4. Use a fan.

Running the air conditioner when you are sleeping can waste a lot of energy and boost the utility bill. Instead consider using a ceiling fan and/or a bed fan. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, so switch the fan off when not in the room.

A bed fan is attached to either side of the bed or at the foot and goes under the sheets. The fan blows cool air across the bed while you’re sleeping.

5. Maintain your air conditioning.

Have your central air conditioner checked annually by a professional to ensure it’s running at peak performance. Trim vegetation at least two feet from an outside air conditioner so air flows freely.

6. Look for EnergyStar.

Look for the Energy Star label when buying air conditioners and appliances. Visit the Energy Star website to see if there are special deals or financing on Energy Star products available from retailers, utilities or manufacturers near you.


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