My energy bill is always higher in the summer, because I can’t sleep unless it’s cool, and because my boyfriend is always absurdly warm. Thing is, it’s not as high as it could be, because we follow a few simple guidelines to keeping our energy bill low when the temps are skyrocketing. Here are four of the most useful.
1. Be aware of heat sources besides the sun. Depending on what kind of bulbs you use, leaving lights on can make your home a lot hotter than it needs to be. So can gaming systems and TVs. If you’re cooking, barbecuing outside or using a microwave will keep your place cooler than cooking on your stove top or baking in an oven.
2. Curtains make a huge difference. Light-canceling curtains also cancel out a lot of the heat that would come in from outside. Keep them closed during the day.
3. Make sure your equipment is working properly. Maintaining your air conditioning units will keep them from eating up your money. Check and replace air filters as needed, otherwise your air conditioner will need to use more power to cool everything down, resulting in a higher energy bill.
4. Set timers and adjust temperatures accordingly. Every degree you lower will add about 6 percent to your energy bill, so think twice if you decide 60 degrees is your sweet spot. Experts recommend 78 degrees while you’re home and 85 degrees while you’re out. If no one is going to be home, set a timer on your thermostat to lower the temperature an hour before you’re back. By the time you’re settled in, it’ll be comfortable. (If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t turn off the air conditioning entirely, it’s because the energy required to boot it up and cool it back down when you shut if off can use more energy than just running it continuously at a lower setting.)