AC-Related Ways to Reduce Electricity Bill
July and August are my absolute most expensive electricity bills of the year. I get an email each month with my energy statement, and it’s in late summer when I hold my breath as I click to open it. I’m also left thinking: There must be ways to reduce electricity bill, right?
And I’m guessing (hoping?) that I’m not alone. So, after much research and a little bit of testing, I’ve identified 10 AC-related ways to reduce electricity bill. Here’s a list of what I’ve found. Choose what meets your needs and your unique situation, and watch your electricity bill tumble during the hottest months of the year.
1. Up the Temperature
Let’s start with the easiest one: Just turn up the temperature on your air conditioner. If you’re anything like me, you get incredibly hot during the night. Two tactics I’ve used to stay cooler (without running the AC cooler): 1) Stick one foot outside the covers, and 2) Use a thin blanket rather than a comforter during summer. You’ll be amazed at how much cooler just sticking one foot can be, and losing the comforter in exchange for a thin blanket is a huge game-changer.
2. Install CFL Light Bulbs
If you’re using the same light bulbs that your grandparents used when they moved into their first apartment, you’re doing it wrong. Incandescent light bulbs are the past — CFL light bulbs are the future. You may not be using them because they are a little higher in price … But they last far, far longer than traditional light bulbs. Also, they burn cooler, which means your AC unit doesn’t have to work quite as hard.
3. Screen Windows
Screens may not seem like a significant addition to your home, but they do far more than keep mosquitos out when the window is open. A screen actually stops solar energy from entering your home, which helps drop the temperature. If you can’t afford to (or don’t want to) screen all your windows, just screen the ones that face east and west — the ones that will get direct sunlight during the day.
4. Draw Shades
OK, so if you’re not interested in screens, you can always draw your shades. Many homeowners leave their shades open all the time, which makes perfect sense. You can’t see much when the shades are drawn. But drawing the shades can help reduce the temperature inside your home, which means your AC doesn’t have to work nearly as hard.
5. Stop Leaks
When your air conditioner injects cold air into your home, you don’t want that cool air to escape. Cool air often escapes through doors and windows that are poorly insulated. Look at your door and window insulation to make sure they are all properly sealed, and give your AC a break.
6. Use Fans
Here’s one that’s really easy: Crank up your fans. You may have ceiling fans, which should be running on high through the hottest months of the year. And, if not, you can use oscillating fans, desk fans or standup fans to stir the air in your home. How does this help you reduce your electricity bill? Fans are far more efficient than an AC unit, which means they can run at a fraction of the cost.
7. Plant Trees
Steal an idea from the days before homeowners had AC units: Plant shade trees near your home. When you plant large trees and bushes with wide limbs and leaves near your home’s perimeter, those trees and bushes cast shade which helps naturally cool your home. Block the sun’s rays and see the temperature inside your home fall.
8. Add Insulation
When was the last time you looked inside your attic? I’m not talking about just the portion of your attic where your store your holiday decorations I’m talking about the expansive attic that covers your entire home. If you don’t have good insulation (or insulation at all), you’re letting energy escape your home without putting up a fight. If you add attic insulation, it reduces your electricity bill and often increases your home’s value — prospective homebuyers love to see attic insulation.
9. Explore Roofing Options
If you’re getting close to time to replace your roof, consider a different type of material that can make your home far cooler. Both metal roofs and white roofs are known to help reduce electricity bills, but for different reasons. Metal roofs reflect the rays of the sun far more effectively than composite shingles, and white roofs absorb far less heat than the darker shades you more see on homes.
10. Check Your Unit
Your electricity bill is highly dependent on how efficiently your AC unit is running. And the best way to ensure your AC is running efficiently is to practice proactive maintenance. Make sure you’re regularly cleaning your vents, taking care of duct leaks, changing filters, etc. Also, if you’re had your AC unit for 10–15 years, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Yes, replacing your AC is expensive. But you’ll be amazed at how effective a new unit with new technology can be at cooling your home.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Reduce Electricity Bill
Here’s the thing: Not all of these tactics are going to work for you. Take a look at the ideas listed above, and choose the ones that best fit your home and your lifestyle. High electric bills are largely a function of running an air conditioning unit. You can turn off all the lights in your home for weeks at a time, and you won’t see a lot in the way of savings if your AC unit is still cranking away.
Did we miss one of your best approaches for reducing your electric bill? If so, let us know in the comments section below. You can always use our contact page to reach out to us directly, too.
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