Summer is almost here and the warm weather that we’ve been happily anticipating is upon us! With the sunny days, typically we can expect a surge in our electric bills. Cooling your house doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Here are a few steps and ideas to offer you some savings while keeping you cool.
1. Check your air conditioning vents and units
Proactively checking the status of your air conditioning unit is a great place to start. Ensuring that the filters, coils, and fins are maintained and in proper working order will maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the unit. Replacing your filters every 60-90 days is generally recommended by most HVAC companies. Dirty or clogged filters and/or vents obstruct airflow and reduce the efficiency of the system. Simply replacing an old filter with a clean, new one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption up to 15%.
2. Decrease your light usage
You may remember being told as a child to “Turn off the lights.” when we left a room. This is a small fix with maximum effects. Taking an inventory of how many lights you may be using versus how many are needed can bring awareness to the amount of energy we waste unknowingly. Remembering to turn off the light when you exit a room can equal big savings over time. This is one of the most basics steps to manage your energy bill while also reducing your carbon footprint. If you haven’t already, switch to LED lights from standard incandescent or halogen bulbs. Although they are more expensive, they use 80% less energy and last 20 times longer.
3. Adjust your thermostat
According to the Department of Energy, adjusting your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours per day can save you as much as 10% on your electric bill. Try keeping it just a little warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. This is not the easiest to do- especially when you love the comfort of your “perfect” temperature. A simple way is to adjust the thermostat when you’re away from home or sleeping. Think about investing in a smart thermostat. There are many affordable options on the market, and they are an excellent energy-efficient tool. You can program which hours you will be away from home, when you are sleep, or when its chilly in the morning, it will automatically adjust the temperature accordingly.
4. Unplug appliances you aren’t using
The energy appliances use when they’re plugged in but not being used is driving up your electric bill. This phantom energy can cost an average of $100 per year. Consider purchasing a power strip which makes it easy to turn off multiple appliances at one time. Setting up one in each room makes the process quick and stops the energy drainage.
5. Get an energy audit
Dominion Energy offers a home energy assessment. With their Residential Home Energy Assessment Program, they will conduct a room-by-room assessment and determine opportunities for saving energy. A qualified contractor installs simple measures to improve your homes efficiency. The rebate is paid directly to the contracting company leaving zero out-of-pocket cost for you. To apply or for additional information, visit domsavings.com/va/rhea/
These are just a few small steps that can help you save money this summer. Utilities are one expense that we can keep manageable. The best plan for saving money starts at home. Reviewing your bills is one way to decrease the amount of money you have going out every month. There are many other simple tips for taking control of your wallet.
JSU understands the importance of financial wisdom. Keep an eye out this June for invites to our financial workshops. These include creating a budget, understanding how credit works, and help with a savings plan to name a few. If you are interested in learning more about your money and the skills to make effective financial decisions, contact your JSU Program Advocate for budget questions and direct resources at (804)835-6400.