How to Save Electricity in the Summer

saving on electricty costs summer tipsWell it looks like spring might finally have arrived here in Pittsburgh! As the temperature rises, we make the switch from heating to cooling our homes, and we become acutely aware that along with the temperature, our electricity bills are rising too. Here are some tips to help you save electricity and still keep cool in the summer.

Take care of your air conditioner.

Cleaning your air conditioner’s filter in the summer is just as important as changing the furnace filter in the winter. When the filters are dirty, the air conditioning has to work harder to cool your home, raising your electricity usage. If you have whole-house air conditioning, it can be as easy as hosing off the unit outside and making sure it is in good condition with straight fan blades and a smoothly running motor.

If you have an older home with a room that you just can’t keep cool, you might be tempted to simply lower the whole-house temperature, but that is counteractive to your effort to save electricity. Consider buying a small window unit for that room. You will save energy by simply turning it on when you are using the room, and off again when you leave.

Pay attention to your lights.

It has been said that almost 25 percent of your monthly electricity comes from the lights in your home. Making sure the lights are off in unoccupied rooms can help to save electricity. Changing your light bulbs from standard incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in your light fixtures will also help. CFLs or LEDs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

Explore other cooling options.

There are countless option for cooling your home that can help reduce your energy usage and therefore your electric bill. As tempting as it is to open the curtains and let the summer sunshine into the room, those rays of sun are radiating heat into your room. Keeping the curtains closed unless you are right there indulging in the sunlight can help to keep a room cool.

Another option is ceiling fans. Ceiling fans, used in conjunction with your air conditioning can actually help to save electricity and money. Using the fan only when you are in the room to feel the effects, can allow you to raise the temperature on the air conditioner and consequently save money. As the ceiling fan doesn’t actually cool the air but circulates it causing you to feel cooler, turn it off when you are not in the room so that you aren’t wasting electricity.

You might also consider investing in a whole-house fan. A whole-house fan is most effective when used in the evening, overnight, and in the morning when the outside temperature tends to drop lower than the indoor temperature. It mounts between the living space and the attic and draws the cool fresh air through open windows into your living area. The then pulls the old stuffy hot air up into the attic and forces it out through your attic vents. A whole-house fan, used properly, has the potential to even eliminate the need for air conditioning.

Install a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats can be purchased at a local hardware store for as little as $30 and are easily installed. Once you have it working, simply program it to raise or lower the air conditioning during the times when you use it most. Reducing air conditioning usage when you aren’t home to enjoy it, can go a long way towards reducing your electricity costs in the summer.

Contact Hufnagel Electric with any questions regarding electrical upgrades and changes to your home for the summer. And now that the beautiful weather is here, and you have prepared your home and your wallet for summer electric bills, get out there and enjoy it!