11 Easy Ways to Lower Your Air Conditioning Bill This Summer

Summer’s almost here, and with it comes rising electric bills as you fight to keep your home cool.

Summer’s almost here, and with it will come rising electric bills as you fight to keep your home cool and take refuge from the sweltering heat.

Luckily, there are many ways to fight astronomical air conditioning costs — here are 11.

1. Upgrade Your Windows

If your home has old windows, they might not be energy efficient. You can cut the costs of cooling your home by installing new energy-efficient windows. Some upfront cost is involved, but you’ll make it up in the long run with lower bills.

2. Seal Your Windows

Poorly sealed windows leak air, which makes your air conditioning system work harder. Caulking leaks or cracks and weather stripping your windows will prevent cool air from leaking out of your windows.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats cut energy usage by adjusting temperatures while you’re away or asleep. You can program them yourself or purchase one that slowly adapts to your temperature preferences. Some can even be set up with an app away from home.

According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% annually by adjusting your temperature by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day. Programmable thermostats can automate the process.

4. Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans circulate cool air, taking some of the burden off your air conditioning system. Use your existing ceiling fans (or install them throughout the house) to increase energy efficiency.

5. Replace Your HVAC Air Filters

Air filters keep your HVAC system running smoothly by preventing dust from blocking your vents and promoting air circulation. If the filters are dirty, your system will have to work harder to circulate air.

You’ll want to replace your filters at least every few months, and possibly more if you have pets or kids. Luckily, air filters are cheap and easy to switch by yourself.

6. Avoid Cooking Indoors

Cooking on an oven or stovetop generates a lot of heat, which strains your air conditioning system. The summer months are great for outdoor cooking, and grilling outside a couple times a week can help. Alternatively, you can use appliances that throw off less heat, such as crockpots or electric griddles. Speaking of crockpots, here are eight ways they help you save money.

7. Reduce the Sunlight

Sunlight streaming in through your windows raises the temperature of your home. By blocking the sunlight, you can calm that effect. Planting some shade trees outside your windows can curb encroaching sunlight while blackout shades or curtains are another low-cost option.

8. Insulate Your Walls & Attics

Windows aren’t the only part of your home that leak air. Attics, walls and crawl spaces lose air as well. Professionally insulating your home is one of the best ways to increase energy efficiency. If you have an older home, this could be worth the investment.

9. Find Lower Ground

Heat rises, so avoid the upper floors of your home as much as possible. By doing this, you can probably leave your thermostat set to a higher temperature for longer periods during the day. You can lower the temperature at night if your bedroom’s upstairs.

10. Get Your Air Conditioning System Serviced

Hiring a local contractor to service your air conditioning system can keep your system working efficiently. Your contractor should clean outdoor coils, check voltage connections and make sure the refrigerant is at proper levels.

11. Install Solar Panels

Solar panels, which are usually installed on roofs, use the sun’s energy to power a home, which can greatly reduce cooling costs. The price for installing these panels depends on whether they’re bought or leased, and the amount you save on your bill will depend on your energy usage and system.

Find that your water bill goes up in the summer? Fear not! We have 11 ways to help you lower your water bill right here

Editor’s Note: You can see how your payment behavior is impacting your finances by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. Checking your scores will not harm them in any way. 

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11 Ways to Save on Your Shocking Electric Bill

Cooling your home and powering all your favorite gadgets can add up. Here are some ways to squeeze some savings out of your electric bill.

The cost of powering your home and all your assorted appliances and devices can be significant. The price of everything, from running your air conditioner on hot days to charging your phone as you sleep, can add up.

Getting a handle on your electric bill is important. Failing to make a monthly payment can really drop your credit score. (You can check two of your scores for free every two weeks on Credit.com).

But you can significantly reduce the electrical energy your home consumes by taking a few simple steps. Here are 11 ways you can lower your electric bill.

1. Perform a Home Energy Audit

Home energy auditors are professionals who come to your home to evaluate your power usage, assessing your home and your past power bills. They’ll look for areas where you can increase efficiency. Many electric suppliers provide this service for free, but you can also find a local paid professional.

When the audit is complete, the auditor can recommend energy-saving methods and products.

2. Install Dimmer Switches

The overhead lights in many rooms often provide more illumination than we need. With dimmer switches, you can adjust the amount of light you’re using. Modern dimmers also reduce how much electricity lights use.

3. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans circulate air through your home and can cool you off. While they use electricity, they may reduce the workload of your air conditioner.

4. Ward off the Sun

Sunlight coming in through windows can heat up your home and make your air conditioner work harder. You should close the curtains or blinds on your windows when you don’t need them open and consider installing tinted window film. (If heating or cooling your home is the main cause of your high electric bills, here’s how you can keep temperatures comfortable without spending too much.)

5. Turn Off Unused Items & Unplug Electronics

Of course, you should shut off all electronics and lights when you leave a room to reduce energy usage. But electronics and appliances can use energy even when they’re turned off.

“Gadgets and appliances like TVs, laptops, coffee makers, printers, space heaters and cable boxes continue to suck energy even when turned off,” said Andrea Woroch, a consumer finance expert. “Get in the habit of unplugging all these electronics and appliances when you aren’t using them. Power strips are an easier and less timely alternative — some even come with a remote control for easier use.”

6. Use LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs. While LED bulbs can cost more, they have a longer lifespan, so you could save money on light bulbs in the long run.

7. Replace Your HVAC Air Filters

Air filters keep dust and debris from circulating through your HVAC system and clogging vents and air registers. Over time, these filters get clogged with dust and debris themselves, and your air conditioning system will have to work harder to cool your home. You should swap your air filters out every few months to reduce the energy needed to regulate your home’s temperature.

8. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats reduce energy costs by adjusting your home temperature when you’re away, at work or asleep. Your energy usage will be reduced because you won’t be wasting electricity cooling an empty home.

“The HVAC system uses the most energy in your home, and running the air conditioner or heater can blow your budget. However, installing a programmable thermostat takes the guesswork out of fiddling with temperatures and allows you to preset temps when you are home or away at work or school so you don’t waste energy,” said Woroch.

Just be careful. “Smart” thermostats are one of a few household objects that might make you vulnerable to hackers.

9. Solar Panels

If you’re looking for big savings and energy reduction, solar panels may be the way to go. Typically installed on the roof, solar panels harvest the sun’s energy and convert it into electric power.

“Solar panels continue to improve. The prices of solar panels have become cheaper, their ability to capture the sun’s photons and convert them to electricity is becoming more efficient, and the technology is changing as solar shingles emerge as a more mainstream item,” said Sage Singleton, home maintenance specialist at Safewise. “The time before payoff on solar panels is also getting shorter — the average rooftop solar system will pay back a homeowner in seven-and-a-half years. The sooner you install your solar panels, the sooner you will see the average savings on your lowered energy bills.”

Solar panels might also lower your tax bill.

10. Look for Energy Provider Programs

Many electric suppliers have programs you can participate in to reduce the cost of your bill. These include rebates for buying energy-efficient appliances, rewards for reducing energy usage during peak hours and programs that spread the cost of your peak usage for months across the year. Visit your energy provider’s website or call to find out what programs might be available.

11. Shop for an Alternative Provider

If you have alternative energy providers in your area, you can always shop around to see if you can find a cheaper option.

“One common way that consumers reduce their electric bill is to shop for a new electric supplier. Many states in the U.S. are deregulated, meaning the residential customers can shop for electricity,” said Kelly Bedrich, cofounder and president of ElectricityPlans.com. “In these states, homeowners and renters can shop for electricity in the same way you can shop for cable and internet service. By being able to shop for their energy, the homeowners can often save as much as 30% to 40% off of their energy bill simply by switching their supplier.”

Looking for other ways to save? Making your home more energy efficient is one 50 tips we came up with to give your finances a fresh start this year.

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6 Simple Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient This Summer

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