As temperatures begin to rise and we look forward to a warm summer, many consumers will find their electric bills are also rising. Air conditioners and fans running all day start replacing winter heaters, and could easily send an electric bill through the ceiling. There are many ways you can reduce your usage, some are initially expensive, such as upgrading to better energy conserving appliances, fitting new windows, and even cavity insulation, but these may not be options that you can afford.
However there are ways to reduce your summer bill without having to spend so much. Some may seem obvious, but it is surprising just how many do not apply these principles. Energy Switcheroo suggests the following:
- Keep the blinds down; the amount of heat generated by a large window can be high, it’s like a radiator in summer. Multiply this by more than one window in your room, and you have serious heating. Even hanging heavy drapes will help keep the house much cooler, although they may not add to the décor.
- In the winter heat may be very welcome, but having to use air conditioning during the summer will increase your energy bills. Even leaving lights on, will raise the temperature, natural light is cheaper than the electric version.
- Do you need to use the washing machine for smaller quantities of clothes? Summer wear is often light and flimsy and could easily be done by hand. Tumble dryers are not really needed if the weather is fine; put the clothes line to work.
- If you use air conditioning, keep it at the same setting; don’t keep putting it up or down. If it is old it may be worth considering an upgrade. There may even be grants to help.
- Ceiling fans don’t actually cool rooms down; they just move the same air around at about the same temperature. Having several on all day, will use a lot of electricity, but have little overall effect on room temperature. Having a fan sucking air in through an open window in summer will actually be warming the house up. Open Windows in the evening for a cool breeze and leave fan off.
- Pull the shutters down, close up the house and go into the country or down the beach for the day. You will save a lot on electricity and your home should feel cooler when you return. Leave the air conditioner on energy saving mode. If turned fully off, the rooms will heat up.
- Unplug things that are on standby, they are using power and heating up the room for no reason. Turn off the TV when no one is watching it. The same goes for computers, radios and stereos.
- Prepare for summer and winter. Cavity Wall insulation works in more than one way. It can help keep you warm in winter, but just as easily help to keep you protected from the heat of summer.
- With some planning you can cut down on the heavily cooked meals of winter and concentrate on lighter summer dishes that require far less energy to prepare. Microwave ovens use 50% less energy than ovens. In the summer, it also causes less heat in the kitchen, saving you money on air conditioning.
- Take shorter showers. You’ll use less hot water – and water heaters account for nearly 1/4 of your home’s energy use.
Follow the above tips and you can look forward to paying significantly less for your energy bills during the summer.