Summer Heat Got You Down And Your Energy Bills Up?

It’s summer time! Or darn close to it. Here in the South East it got hot…quick! We’ve had very little time to get used to the heat but here it is and here is shall stay.

Everyone I’ve been talking to recently has been cursing about having to turn on their air conditioners at the end of April. Recently, a ridiculously hot week struck in North Carolina and of course, OF COURSE, my air conditioner broke. For four days I had to rely on windows, fans and the power of an ice cold glass of water.

The day before the AC was fixed, I was starting to grow accustomed to the heat and being able to deal with it. Not to mention, my energy bill had a nice little breather.

Which brings me to today’s topic: saving money in the summer.

During my stint without AC I turned to the web and found some excellent articles on BillEater.com on keeping energy costs down and not relying on the AC.

Like many other sites the number one tip for saving on your AC bill is to, you guessed it, keep the AC off as long as you can. Open your windows and use fans to keep the house cool. Also, be sure to shade windows with direct sunlight to prevent heat from coming inside.

In order to keep your AC off as long as possible you need to train your body to become accustomed to the warmer months. Which means first and foremost you’re going to need to drink a lot of water.

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Second, staying away from mid-day heat and going in and out of air conditioned places will help you stay cool at home. If your body is constantly going through spurts of heat and chill you’ll be more likely to turn on that AC at home.

By cutting off the AC in your car you’ll not only help your body maintain its temperature but you’ll also save gas. It’s been shown than you’ll save gas by rolling your windows down instead of using the AC in areas where you drive 45 mph or less. Driving any higher than this speed limit with the windows down will actually increase your gas costs as the wind at high speeds slows the car down and more gas is needed.

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Inside your house be sure to check your windows for cracks where air might leak out or in. Keeping your house well insulated will help keep costs down and cool air in. If you find cracks around your windows be sure to caulk them up as soon as possible.

You can test the efficacy of your windows by placing a medium-sized fan on top a ladder at the high setting outside of the windows. With the fan outside blowing on high and the window closed, move your hand around in front of the window from the inside of your house. If you feel any air, check to see where it is coming from and seal the cracks with caulk. Repeat until you cannot feel any air coming through. – Source

Using thermal curtains will also help maintain a constant temperature as these curtains keep cool are in during the summer and hot air in during the winter.

Some other tips for keeping energy costs down in your house:

Replace old lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs. While they may be expensive at first they last for a long time and give you the same amount of light with less energy, the savings are incredible!
Wash your dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher
Use the proper size stove burner when cooking. Using burners that are too big for an item only waste energy.
Only boil the amount of water you absolutely need, this will boil the water faster and cut down on unneeded gas or electricity.
Use the appropriate dishes when baking. You can actually decrease your oven temperature by 25 degrees if you cook with a ceramic or glass dish since they hold heat well.
Only Preheat the oven when needed. If you’re cooking something for an hour or longer preheating the oven is often a waste of time and energy.
Use the microwave to keep food warm. The insulation in your microwave will help keep your food warm if you finish cooking it early and put it in there with the door closed.
Cook dinner in your Crock Pot. As shown in the box below, using your Crock Pot is much more friendly on expenses than other cooking means. I also find it helpful to cook on an electric skillet instead of the stove top.

Here are some rough estimates of the energy used to feed a family of five one casserole, ordered by the most expensive cooking method to the least:
$.45  – Electric Oven
$.18  – Electric Range-top Burner
$.12  – Toaster Oven

$.08  – Gas Oven

$.06  – Gas Range-top Burner

$.05  – Pressure Cooker

$.02  – Crock Pot
$.01  – Microwave Oven – Source

Do you have any simple and effective tips you use to help cut down costs in your home? Tell me about them. Post them in the comments!!

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