The United States is the biggest energy consumer in the world. An American household can pay about $400 a month on their energy bill during the summer especially if they live in a warm region, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s up from $300 a decade ago.
That’s penty of cash to spend on heating and cooling expenses, especially in a challenging economic environment. In the warm South, summer cooling expenses can soar up to $500 per month for millions of homes.
“Temperature changes will have the biggest effect on summer electric bills,” according to the EIA. “A warmer-than-expected summer would likely move power prices higher, as more homes have air conditioning …. boost in air conditioning use reflects a U.S. population shift during this period to warmer and more humid areas of the country.”
Here are ways to lower your utility bill.
1. Set your thermostat as low as possible with temperatures that still allow your family to be comfortable during the winter. Use more blankets and thick clothing than usual during the cold season.
Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer. Use electric cooling fans, which don’t use as much electricity as the A/C unit. Adjust accordingly when you’re sleeping or away from home.
2. Lowering the temperature of the water heater to 115 to 120 degrees. This reduces power usage without making a big difference to the user.
3. Get tax breaks from Uncle Sam to make your home more energy-efficient. You may have to talk to your accountant, or do some research on the Web. Some homes can qualify for tax credits. Improvements that can qualify include adding insulation, metal roofs coated with heat-reducing pigments, and energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights.
4. Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month. During the summer months, clean filters can make your A/C much more efficient. You can also get a technician to look into you’re A/C unit and/or heater.
5. Use curtains. During winter, keep the draperies and shades open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home. During summer, do the opposite to keep the sunlight out of your home.
6. Seal heating and cooling ducts. “Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters,” according to Energy Star. “Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent – and sometimes much more.”
Making your home more energy efficient can help to reduce energy bills. “As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling,” according to the Energy Star website. “Making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills – and your comfort.”
Visit ConserVision Energy, a company that provides heating conversion and AC maintenance plans in Cape Cod, MA.