[Ideas] Five Ways to Beat the Summertime Spike

Summertime brings both the good and the bad. Warm weather usually means grilling and days in the sun, but it can also mean something else: a seasonal spike in your electricity bill. Here are five ways to keep your bill down and pocket that money for your next vacation.

#1 Become a fan of your ceiling fan

It’s easy to forget how comfortable a fan can make your home. Instead of turning your A/C on full blast, turn on the ceiling fans in your home. A good fan will keep the air circulating, preventing rooms from feeling stagnant. In addition, fans set high enough can create a wind chill effect that will keep you cool.

#2 Utilize your windows (and vents) the right way

Heat can easily seep in through cracks in the insulation around windows and doors. Check that all of your windows are properly sealed and keep them closed during the day. Rooms that get little use should also be closed off. Shutting vents in guest bedrooms and other low-use rooms will keep your A/C from working harder to cool them.

When the temperature drops at night, you can open windows on opposite sides of your home to create a cooling cross-breeze. Create your own air conditioning system by grabbing a stand or box fan and positioning it out of one window. This will suck the hot air from the day out while allowing cool air to filter in to your home from other windows.

#3 Check the thermostat and your appliances

It’s time to turn the setting on your thermostat back up. You’ll already be wearing your summer clothing, so you should be able to comfortably set your thermostat somewhere between 76 and 79 degrees. Remember, experts say that every degree you set your thermostat above 78 degrees can save you eight percent of your total energy usage (eight dollars on a hundred-dollar bill).

Make sure to move appliances away from your thermostat as well. TV’s, lamps and other house-hold appliances sap electricity and give off heat that can leave the air around them several degrees warmer than the ambient air in the room. This heat will keep your thermostat from accurately gauging the temperature inside your home, meaning your A/C unit will have to work harder, burning more energy in the process.

#4 Install curtains

A big part of keeping your home cool during the summer is keeping the sun out. Install light-filtering curtains and keep your blinds closed as much as possible while the sun is up. This simple measure will act like a second insulation for your home, keeping the cool air in and the boiling rays of the sun out.

#5 Maintain your unit (Regularly change filters, keep dust off returns and vents)

Unit maintenance is perhaps the most often over-looked strategy for lowering energy bills. Ridding your system of dust by changing your air filter and by dusting the return vent in your home will keep air flowing like it should. Scheduling a deep cleaning with an HVAC company in your area is also a good step to take before the hot season begins. A specialist can clean, inspect, and tune-up your unit, ensuring that it will work at its maximum efficiency for the entire summer.