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How To Lower Your Summer Electric Bills

How To Lower Your Summer Electric Bills

Summers continue getting hotter and the price to stay cool keeps going up as well. Air conditioning units are known to be electricity hogs which can result in triple digit electricity bills in the hottest months of the year. Using high electricity appliances only when absolutely necessary can be the first step toward lowering summer electric bills. Here are some ideas to stay cool when things get hot.

Thermostat Settings

The key recommendation for both cooling in the summer and heating in the winter is to set the thermostat to an uncomfortable temperature when not home or awake. In the summer, set the thermostat to five or ten degrees above where it would normally be while at home. For the 8 to 10 hours a day you are at work the air conditioner will run less which will not only save money but also reduce the amount of wear and tear on the appliance. On days with afternoon cloud cover and a breeze you may not need to turn on the air conditioner at all when you get home.

Open Window Policy

If your home or apartment has decent airflow and weather permits, it is recommended to open as many windows as possible and install a screen door if necessary. A cool breeze is nature's air conditioning and is free for consumers to use as much as they like. This will obviously depend on the region of the country you live but areas with afternoon monsoons benefit greatly from an open window policy. Some parts of the country with triple digit heat also tend to get very cool at night meaning open windows allow fresh air to circulate to keep you cool. In an ideal situation with a low front passing through, it is sometimes possible to keep the air conditioner off for days at a time even in summer.

Stay Out of the Kitchen

The kitchen is the worst place to be during summer as almost every appliance in there uses electricity or generates heat. Cooking a family dinner such as a casserole will require use of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, running the dishwasher for another 30 minutes or so, opening and closing the refrigerator repeatedly all the while keeping many lights on to see what you're doing. Grilling will be your best friend during hot summer months. Everything from chicken, steaks, pork chops, hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue is perfect for the grill and can keep you out of the kitchen practically every night of the week. Not only does this prevent appliances from being used and generating heat but it also prevents the air-conditioning from kicking in to compensate for the increased temperatures.

Natural Lighting

Having windows open for airflow is an important step to minimize air conditioner use but it also means more natural light on long summer days. By getting into the habit of opening blinds or curtains first thing in the morning, except on south facing walls, you benefit from a bright open environment for most of the day until the late evening. While not a problem with newer light bulbs, older incandescent bulbs generate significant amounts of heat increasing the need for additional cooling. These are only a few of the many ideas for how to lower your summer electric bills.

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