There are still a few more weeks of summer left, and in Wichita, the higher temperatures usually mean larger electric bills. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep your cooling and energy costs from skyrocketing. Here are some tips for keeping your summer electric bill low.
1. Turn Your Thermostat Up
Raising your thermostat setting by a few degrees can have a huge impact on your electric bill, because your air conditioner will run less. In fact, changing it from 70 to 78 degrees can cut your cooling costs nearly in half! Try turning your thermostat up when you’re not home, too. Just set your “away” temperature no more than 10 degrees higher than the temperature when you’re at home. Programmable or smart thermostats can take care of this for you so you don’t forget, and your house will be cooled down by the time you get home.
2. Use Ceiling and Ventilation Fans
Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans don’t actually keep a home cooler. They do, however, create a cooling effect, which helps us feel comfortable at a higher temperature. This means you could raise your thermostat by as much as 4 degrees without really noticing it. Although ceiling fans use very little electricity – about the same as a 60-Watt light bulb – it’s important to turn them off when you leave a room to avoid wasting energy. Running your bathroom vent fan during and a few minutes after your shower can help remove humidity from your home that will make it feel warmer. If your home has an attic fan, running it can help remove heat from the attic.
3. Don’t Use the Oven on Hot Days
Sure, your oven is useful for creating delicious dinners and treats like cookies and cakes, but all that baking uses a lot of electricity and adds heat to your home. This makes your air conditioner run more to cool the house back down. When possible, avoid using the oven on really hot days. Instead, plan meals and snacks that can be served cold or cooked in the microwave, on the stove top or grilled outside. If you must bake, try using the oven when it’s cooler outside, such as early in the morning.
4. Close the Blinds During the Day
Direct sunlight raises the temperature inside your house, which means your air conditioner will have to run more and use more energy. But, blocking the sunlight will help maintain a more consistent indoor temperature during the day. Make sure your blinds or drapes block out as much light as possible. For even more benefit, consider buying light-blocking blinds or draperies.
5. Hang Laundry Outside
Obviously, using your clothes dryer less will save electricity. But, the same heat that dries your clothes also adds heat to your home, making your air conditioner work harder and run longer to keep maintain a comfortable temperature. If you have to run the dryer, use the moisture-sensing setting, if possible. Or, consider hanging laundry outside on a clothesline, instead. There are inexpensive, retractable models available that are easy to install. And, your clothes will smell clean and fresh!
Keep these 5 energy-saving tips in mind during summer, and enjoy your lower electric bill.