Summer is officially here and with it the onset of higher electric bills.
This year, you can expect to see bigger bills than ever before. Considering that the price of everything else -- from gasoline to food and housing -- has also skyrocketed, it's much harder to absorb added electricity costs.
The No. 1 biggest energy hog in your home is your summer air conditioner. But we also understand that you want to be comfortable and not sweltering. So how can you reduce your air conditioning bills with no sweat?
This one is obvious, and you’ve heard it from us before, so we’re getting it out of the way early: The easiest and best way to stay comfortable while reducing electricity bills is to use a smart thermostat. These brilliant devices will shave a degree here or there -- nothing you would notice, but over a month it adds up. Don’t turn into your dad and watch the thermostat like a hawk; just automate it and save your attention for the new season of Stranger Things.
If you have a smart thermostat linked to OhmConnect, we can do this for you automatically. Even if you don’t have a smart thermostat, you can still do it manually. Simply turn down your thermostat to chill your home to 68 degrees before 4 p.m. on weekdays. From 4-9 p.m., when energy is most expensive, set your thermostat so it doesn’t turn on. Thanks to the pre-cooling, you’ll be able to chill without the bill.
You’re supposed to do this every three months, but it’s easy to forget. We recommend checking your air filter today, and if it’s clogged with hair and lint, replace it for the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a clogged air filter can cost you 15% of your HVAC’s efficiency. Considering that heating and air conditioning account for nearly half of your annual energy cost, that 15% makes a real difference on your bill.
As the Simpsons so hilariously put it: “Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to block out the sun.” Unlike Mr. Burns, you don’t have to construct a giant solar shield to put your whole town in the shadows. It’s enough to simply pull down your blinds to block the sun’s heat from warming the inside of your house. According to energy.gov, shades can reduce solar heat through windows by up to 60%. If the heat never gets in, you won’t have to expend electricity to cool it off. Feel free to open the windows at night to let cooler air in when the sun goes down.
Using a fan to circulate air in the room is far more energy efficient than cooling the whole house with the A/C. Think of all the energy being wasted to cool down rooms you’re not even in! With a fan you can be more targeted in your approach, and it’s easy to turn off the fan when you decide to move to a different room or go outside. If it’s really hot and the fan isn’t enough, try using a mister to add some cool water to the mix. Wind against wet skin naturally relieves heat.
We all got used to streaming at home, but it’s no substitute for seeing a blockbuster on the silver screen. Although the popcorn is more expensive, you can make it up with what you save in cooling costs -- the theater owner is paying for the air conditioning, not you. Last summer, we were still a little unsure if it was time to come out of our caves and stop isolating. This summer, we’re ready to get back to the movies. And we’re not alone: Top Gun: Maverick just scored the highest opening Memorial Day Weekend ever. Check out Tom Cruise in his return to form, and make sure you take the next exit off the highway to the danger zone of high summer electric bills.