Secrets to Cutting Energy Costs During Hot Months

As temperatures begin to rise, many households are going to see their energy bills go up as more homes turn on their air conditioners to stay comfortable. While traditional advice on lowering these expenses will tell you to avoid using air conditioning, that simply isn’t plausible for everyone. To help you manage the increased cost during the summer months, here are some energy saving tips you can use to keep your energy bills in check.

Clean or Replace Your Filter
One of the easiest ways to help improve your energy usage is to make sure your filter is cleaned or changed monthly, especially during the summer. This simple trick can contribute to reducing your energy bills by as much as 7 percent while also lowering the risk of your air conditioner breaking down because of poor air flow.

Add Some Fans
Even traditional standing or desk fans can help a space feel cooler thanks to their ability to circulate the air, and you don’t have to invest in fancy or high-cost versions to get the benefit. Simply place a few fans in areas where household members tend to spend most of their time. Then, see if you can adjust your thermostat a few degrees upward and still feel comfortable.

This combined approach of using air conditioning and fans can allow you to use less energy without necessarily having to go completely without central cooling.

Get a Programmable Thermostat
Often, the temperature of your home is less relevant when you aren’t there, such as during the work day. Programmable thermostats allow you to assign times to specific temperatures, giving you the option to raise the temperature in your home while you are away automatically, and having it cooled again before you come home.

For example, you can have your thermostat set four to six degrees higher while you are at work and the house is empty, but program it to cool the house back down based on when you’ll be home. By following that schedule, you can reduce your energy bills by 5 to 20 percent. And, if you use the same principle in the winter (except having your home be cooler while you are away) you can recoup the cost of a new thermostat in about a year. Be sure to check different utility programs that can help with free thermostats amongst other utility subsidies.

Consider Bill Averaging
While this isn’t technically a method for lowering your energy costs, it can make paying the bill more manageable. Many utility companies offer a bill averaging service to their customers as long as they have been in the property for at least a year. What the program does is add together all of your usage during the prior 12 months and then divides it based on the number of billing cycles in a year.

This approach allows households to have a predictable monthly payment designed to cover the cost throughout the year by creating credits during lower usage months and using those credits to offset higher cost months. While the expense will be the same, it is often easier to budget for since you’ll know exactly what you owe for every bill during that 12-month period.

Don't forget to review utility bill assistance programs as well!