The heat and humidity of another Charleston summer is just around the corner. As the temperatures rise into the 90s and even tease at triple digits, something else is also climbing: your utility bill.
You may think the high bill is simply the price to pay for living in the South where the air conditioner works up its own sweat trying to cool down your house. But there are some ways homeowners can keep costs down.
This summer, beat the heat with these energy-saving tips:
- Turn off the ceiling fan when you’re not at home or using that particular room. Ceiling fans help circulate the cool air generated by the air conditioner, but they aren’t actually cooling your home. So turn them on when you need them and switch them off when you don’t for added savings.
- Run appliances in the evening, especially during hot weather.Appliances themselves produce heat, which means your air conditioning – which is already working hard – has to work even harder. As the temperature drops a bit in the evening, that’s a good time to run the washer/dryer or the dishwasher.
- Install a programmable thermostat. If your whole family is gone during the day, there’s no need to have the air conditioner running at full tilt. You can program the thermostat to keep the house comfortable during the day and then set it to run a little cooler in the evening when everyone returns home.
- Check for areas where that cool air might be escaping, such as around windows and doorframes. Think back to when your parents said, “Shut the door, we’re not cooling the whole neighborhood.” That’s exactly what you’re doing if all the cool air is seeping out around the windows and doors.
Investing in new energy-efficient windows is expensive, but, depending on the age of the windows, that may be the way to go. If your budget is tight, you can simply look at adding weather stripping or caulking the window casings to keep that cool air in and keep the hot air out.
Also, consider heavier curtains and high-quality blinds to block the heat. Usually referred to as “blackout curtains,” these thicker window trimmings do a much better job of cutting down on the sunlight streaming into a room, thereby making it cooler.
- Don’t skip maintenance. Regularly clean or change your air conditioner’s filters. Also check the condensation drains, which can get clogged. Depending on the age of your unit, it may be helpful to hire a professional to do an inspection and alert you to any possible problems. By maintaining your A/C unit, you can avoid expensive repairs and hopefully delay the cost of replacing the whole system.
The same maintenance advice goes for other appliances in your home. If they aren’t functioning properly, they could be sucking up more energy and driving up your utility bill. Also, when it’s time to replace items like your refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer, invest in energy-efficient units. Even if the price tag is a bit higher, they will save you money in the long run as your bill drops.
Keeping up with home maintenance and following these energy-saving tips can lead to big savings this summer, so you don’t lose your cool when that July utility bill arrives in the mail.
Learn more about Manning Insurance Services Homeowner or Rental Insurance Polices.