The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of your utility bill. Even as summer temperatures continue to climb, there are ways you can save money on your utility bill – and still keep your cool.
Here are nine clever and common sense ways to put those dollars back in your wallet so you can enjoy all that summer in the Sunshine State has to offer.
Turn It Up
Adjust your thermostat to a moderate temperature, especially in the evening. If you leave the house for the day, turn it even higher, or turn it off. There’s no need to refrigerate your home while away.
Clean and Replace A/C Filters Regularly
It’s easy to overlook air conditioner filters, but cleaning or replacing them once a month (or as recommended) can make a big difference in efficiency.
Close Window Coverings During the Day
Keep drapes, blinds and other window coverings closed during the day to block out the heat of the Florida sun. It’s especially helpful to close curtains on south- and west-facing windows.
Install a “Cool” Roof
Dark shingles absorb heat, directing it down to the home. Especially in sunny climates like Florida, energy experts recommend white or light-colored roofs to save considerably on energy costs. If you have a dark roof but don’t want to invest in a full replacement, you can recoat it with special paint that reflects light and moisture. If it’s time to replace your roof, have your roofer install energy-efficient materials.
Shield Your Home with Natural Shade
Let your landscaping do the work for you. Strategically plant trees and shrubs to help provide extra shade for your home and cool the surrounding air. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, "Trees reduce bills not just by shading your house but also by cooling the air by releasing moisture."
Run the Dishwasher at Night
When it’s running, your dishwasher releases extra humidity into the air, requiring your air conditioner to expend more energy to cool your kitchen. Run the dishwasher at night or before you go to bed. That way, there’s less need to have the A/C running in the kitchen while the dishwasher is on.
Increase Air Circulation
It doesn’t take much for your house to start feeling like a sauna during blistering summer months. Delay cranking the A/C to full blast by circulating indoor air, turning on fans and opening windows, especially in the evening when the outdoor air is a bit cooler.
Feed Your Fridge
Your fridge has to work hard to keep its cool. Save on summer utility bills by filling extra fridge space with water jugs, which will replace hot air inside the fridge. Besides, you can never have too much refreshingly cold water on hand during summer.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you’re looking for long-term savings, consider investing in energy-efficient appliances. While they have a higher upfront cost, energy-efficient appliances will pay you back with lower energy bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you could save about 30 percent on your monthly utility bill by buying and maintaining an energy-efficient home, combined with such basic steps as improving insulation and air sealing.
If you haven’t taken these steps already, now’s the perfect time to start.