closing blindsWhen summer arrives, we look forward to beach days, backyard barbecues and road trips – electric bills are likely not on your list. This time of year, homeowners often see a spike in monthly utility charges from the increased use of fans and air conditioning.

Fighting off high humidity and heatwaves does not come free, but these tips can help reduce costs and keep you comfortable.

Keep the Sun Out

Summer brings more daylight hours, but one crucial way to keep rooms cool is to block out the heat. Rather than lowering the thermostat to run the A/C, try to keep blinds and curtains shut during peak sunlight hours, particularly in unoccupied rooms.

While you’re away from home, it’s more efficient to raise the thermostat or completely turn off the A/C unit than let it cool an empty house.

Unplug Electronic Devices

It’s a common misconception that when the TV or computer is turned off, the power is cut. Yet these devices can still draw energy, called phantom load, which you might notice on your next utility bill.

According to the US Department of Energy, plugged-in devices and products that require standby power to run cost an average of $100 per year. When not in use, unplug these appliances from the electrical outlet.

Programmable Thermostats

With older thermostats, you have to manually adjust the temperature throughout the day. Programmable or “smart” thermostats will automatically keep your home at the ideal temperature. Programmable thermostats, which also allow you to control when the A/C runs, are very affordable and can make a noticeable difference in your home cooling costs.

Balance Use of Fans and A/C

When homeowners install air conditioning units, they often store away and forget their old fans. Yet solely relying on A/C is not only be expensive, but you may become “addicted” to its cooling effect.

Keep using fans to circulate air and help bring the temperature down, without drawing too much energy. Window, ceiling fans and floor fans can help improve your home’s comfort levels for less than constantly running the air conditioner.
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