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Beat the Heat and Your Summer Energy Bill

As the weather heats up, most of us begin coming up with creative ways to deal with the scorching temperatures. We’ve all been through that internal debate: weighing the pros and cons of staying comfortable vs. saving money on your next A/C bill. 
In 1960, only 12 percent of homes in the United States had air conditioning – including homes in the South! While we aren’t sure how they handled the heat, it must’ve been nice not to worry how much your energy bill would increase with one press of a button. But no need to fear! A few of us have some experience with summers in the South and have some money-saving tips up our sleeves. 
  • Be reasonable with your thermostat.
Even making slight adjustments, as small as one degree, can make a difference in your energy bill.  Consider investing in a programmable thermostat if your home doesn’t have one. When used correctly, it can save the average family about $180 per year. 
If your family is away from home most of the day, bump up the temperature a few degrees, to about 78, and turn on fans to help circulate the air. This will prevent wasting energy when no one is home to enjoy it. However, be sure you don’t turn the A/C off entirely. It will take more energy to cool the house down when you return home.
  • Get your A/C unit inspected.
If you know your air conditioning unit isn’t brand new, it might be a good investment to ask your A/C company to inspect its efficiency. Doing this early in the summer could prevent you from buying a new unit and help you save on energy costs.
  • Replace your home’s air filters.
Dirty air filters can make your air conditioning system work harder than it needs to, so be sure to invest in air filters and change them regularly. 
  • Check your hot water tank.
Many of us set the water heater to the maximum temperature during the winter, but try turning it down for the summer months. Chances are you won’t want to take the same hot showers you did in the winter, so it’s an easy way to save money by saving energy.  A suggested temperature for the water heater is 120 degrees. 
  • Avoid using the oven or the stove.
Your home’s oven and stove use a good bit of energy and instantly make the kitchen feel hot and uncomfortable. Instead, cook on a grill outside or use a slow cooker. Crockpots use less energy than other appliances and don’t heat up the room as much as an oven or a stove.

Although hot weather may seem unbearable, your utility bills don’t have to be. Making a few small changes can save energy and help with your monthly costs. How does your family save money on energy during the summer? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Article submitted by K. Renaud