With Memorial Day marking the unofficial kick off of summer and the official start, June 25, right around the corner, the days of sandy feet and sweet treats have arrived on the Gulf Coast—as has the heat and humidity that also love to call our area home.
Last year, Alabama’s Gulf Coast saw 18 days with record highs, according to The National Weather Service. Who knows what this year will hold, but it shouldn’t come as a shock that our area has the highest average residential air-conditioning expenditures in the country, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. The summer months are going to put your air conditioner to work, raising your electricity bill. While high summer utility bills are the cost of getting to live where others vacation, every little bit of savings counts. Check out these tips to help reduce your electricity bill this summer.
Turn on your home’s ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans use a fraction of the energy A/C units do and can be surprisingly effective at helping you feel cooler in your home. How? By creating a wind chill effect, you can turn your thermostat up to 4 degrees higher while maintaining the same level of comfort, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which adds money back to your bank account. Turn off the fans when you’re not in the room for even more savings. Remember set ceiling fans to turn in a counterclockwise direction in the summer and reverse during cooler months.
Keep the windows in your home covered with blinds or drapes when you’re not at home.
When you leave home for the day, consider closing your blinds and drapes to keep sunlight from creating unnecessary heat in your house. The DOE notes on its Energy Efficient Window Attachments page, “In cooling seasons, about 76 percent of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.” Studies have found blocking window light using white plastic blinds can reduce heat gains by 33 percent. It’s a simple preventive measure with some impressive potential returns.
Keep your A/C units and filters clean.
Maintaining your A/C unit is a relatively easy and inexpensive way of keeping your monthly utility bill lower. Dirty and clogged A/C filters can obstruct the airflow of your unit, which means you use the same amount of energy and receive less cool air in return. According to the DOE, “Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 15 percent.”
Consider trying these easy tips to spend more time enjoying the summer comfortably. Stay cool!