Money Girl's 10 tips to lower your utility bill and save money as the heat rises this summer.
Did you know that your heating and air-conditioning system sucks up most of the energy that you pay for?
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No matter if you own or rent your home, here are 10 ways to cut your energy bills and save money during the summer:
Tip #1: Install More Plants
One of the best ways to stay cool is to block heat from getting into your home in the first place. Installing more leafy plants and trees around your home is a great way to improve its curb appeal and help reduce the amount of sun shining on your roof, windows, and outdoor air conditioning unit.
Tip #2: Cover Your Windows
To keep heat from coming into your home, close your window blinds or curtains—especially during the hottest part of the day. You can also install outdoor awnings, solar screens, or window film on the outside of your windows to intercept or reflect solar energy.
If you need new windows, consider upgrading to high-performance products that have special coatings. They can filter out up to 70% of the heat while allowing the full amount of visible light to come through.
Tip #3: Adjust the Thermostat
When it’s warm, every degree you choose to raise the thermostat above 78 can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 10%. So keep your home at the highest comfortable temperature possible and turn it up a few degrees before you leave for work or go out of town.
If you have trouble remembering to adjust your thermostat, you can install a programmable thermostat that automatically changes the temperature at preset times. They cost as little as $25 and are estimated to save the average consumer about $180 a year.
Tip #4: Select Your Fan Speed
If you live in a humid part of the country, one way to dramatically reduce the humidity in your home is to reduce the internal fan speed on your air conditioning system.
Slowing down the movement of air through the machine allows it to remove more moisture, which makes you feel much cooler. If you live in a dry area, it’s better to keep the fan speed high.
If you can’t adjust your fan speed from the thermostat, call a service professional to see what speed your air conditioning unit is currently on and change it for you, if needed.
Tip #5: Use Permanent Air Filters
Maintaining your air conditioning system is critical for keeping it running well. Dirty air filters restrict air flow and cause the system to become inefficient, use more electricity, and cost you more money.
So change disposable filters at least once a month—or switch to a permanent air filter that you clean instead of throw away. A reusable filter is more expensive, but will save you money in the long run by cutting your energy bills and prolonging the life of your air conditioner.