For most members, the two biggest causes of high energy use are cooling and heating. While you have choices other than electricity for heating, electricity is the main source for cooling. When you look at your electric bill this summer, you can be sure the costs of cooling will drive up your bill.
What can you do to keep your summer bills under control?
Your temperature setting has an enormous effect. If you have central air conditioning, set your thermostat in the range of 75-78 degrees, which is comfortable for most people. Every degree lower raises your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 8%. Also, make sure routine maintenance is performed on your air conditioner.
If your air conditioner is getting older, you may want to consider replacing it with a more efficient one. Be sure to size your air conditioner appropriately. While we normally think “bigger is better” that is not the case with an air conditioner. An oversized central AC will cycle on and off too often, wasting energy and impeding its ability to control humidity.
Also consider a unit with a high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner.
Here are some other ideas to reduce your summer bill:
- Install drapes, curtains, shades, awnings or window films on your south and west facing windows to block out the sun’s rays.
- Seal air leaks around your home.
- Check air ducts for leaks. This will not only reduce energy use, but will also increase your comfort level.
- Replace furnace filters. Dirty air filters will block air flow and increase energy costs.
- Use the exhaust fans in your bathroom sparingly. In just one hour they can remove a houseful of cooled air.
- Use fans to supplement room or central air conditioning. They do not lower air temperatures but the breeze they produce makes it feel cooler. Fans use much less electricity than air conditioners.
- Replace incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs. LEDs use much less energy and generate less heat.
- Lights, televisions, computers and appliances not only use electricity, they generate heat. Keep them turned off when they are not needed.