When money is tight, it’s wise to cut costs wherever you can. Taking steps to reduce your electric bill can make a huge difference, especially during the hot Texas summer. Here are eight effective ways to keep your electrical expenses down.
- Turn off your lights: Take advantage of long summer days to light your home naturally. Then, don’t pay to keep the lights on when you don’t need them—flip the switch when you exit the room or leave the house. Finally, swap out your old incandescent bulbs for efficient LEDs. They consume up to 80% less energy and emit far less heat.
- Turn off your electronics when not in use: Break the habit of leaving your computer on all night or keeping the TV on in the background when no one’s watching it. Then, remember to unplug idle gadgets and small appliances to avoid phantom energy draw that needlessly raises your energy expenses.
- Run large appliances during off-peak hours: Your utility provider may charge more per kilowatt-hour during the day when electricity use tends to spike. Dodge these higher rates by running your oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer in the early morning or late evening. This tactic also helps keep your house cooler in the afternoon.
- Clean and adjust your refrigerator and freezer: Pull the appliance away from the wall to access the coils on the back. Vacuum the coils to remove dust and hair. Then, set your fridge to 38 degrees and your freezer to between 0 and 5 degrees.
- Seal air leaks: Apply weatherstripping to moveable joints to help your windows and doors close tightly. Then, apply caulk to any cracks around the frame to create an airtight seal.
- Install a programmable thermostat: For $50 or less, you can upgrade from your old manual thermostat to a money-saving programmable one. Then, create preprogrammed schedules based on your routine, bumping the temperature up at least 10 degrees when you’re gone all day to save up to 15% on your cooling bills.
- Run a fan: When you feel warm, aim a fan in your direction. Airflow creates a wind-chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler without raising your energy bills.
- Make sure your AC can breathe: Start by changing the air filter every one to three months to optimize airflow through the ductwork. Then, hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to ensure adequate heat transfer so your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible.
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