Does summer heat have your electric bills reaching all-time highs? As central Iowans, we know summer is going to throw many hot days our way, but this year the season reached new highs earlier than usual. This not only makes it difficult to keep cool, it also makes your HVAC system work harder to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. But there’s good news – you can combat the heat with a few, relatively simple steps. Follow Wyckoff’s 8 tips to cut down on electricity use, and keep cool no matter what Mother Nature throws our way:
- Adjust the thermostat: As the weather gets warmer, it’s natural for homeowners to head straight to the thermostat to make adjustments. Keep in mind, with each degree you raise the thermostat, you could be increasing your electric bill by one percent during an eight hour time period. At Wyckoff, we recommend keeping a steady temperature at 72 degrees or above in the summer to avoid excess energy use. If you have a programmable thermostat, you may also wish to raise the temperature when you’re away from home or sleeping to save on cooling costs.
- Close curtains and blinds: During summer days, close curtains and blinds – especially on the sunny side of your home. Keeping both closed will help block the sun’s rays from entering and warming your home.
- Continue routine HVAC maintenance: Did you know, running your air conditioner or furnace makes up more than 50 percent of your electric bill? While you will need your air conditioner this summer, there are a few routine maintenance practices you should utilize to maximize system efficiency, including changing air filters monthly, investing in an annual, professional check-up and taking advantage of Wyckoff’s Peace of Mind Planned Service program for significant cost savings.
- Unplug electronics and appliances: Even if your electronics and appliances are turned off during the day, they may still be using electricity, draining power by simply being plugged in. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, around 5 to 10 percent of residential electricity bills consist of items that are plugged in 24 hours a day. While it’s not reasonable to unplug every appliance and device, take a close look at belongings that are plugged in 24/7 but that you may only be using once a week or even once a month. If outlets aren’t easily accessible, plug devices into a power strip that you can switch off and on when needed.
- Make the switch to LED lighting: Are you interested in saving up to $300 dollars each year? Switching to compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs could make all the difference. Why? LED bulbs are up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. By changing a mere 10 light bulbs in your home this year, you could see significant savings.
- Update old appliances: If your appliances – refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, stove or microwave – are old, consider updating to a more energy efficient product. Energy savings, recycling programs and rebates will make it worth your while. Energy companies, like MidAmerican Energy, will even pick up and recycle your appliances directly from your home.
- Remove brush and debris around your air conditioner: Shrubbery, branches or debris on or near the exterior component of your air conditioner can significantly hinder its performance. Don’t make your air conditioner work over time pushing through dust and debris. In comparison, you may want to consider investing in an awning or tree to provide shade and cut energy consumption.
- Eliminate excess heat: Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees or less, remember to wash your clothes in cold or warm water when possible and turn off the heat dry on your dishwasher. All of these tips will help you cut down on excess heat emitted in your home, that your air conditioner has to battle for a consistent, cool temperature.
Take advantage of Wyckoff’s summer tips to cut down your electric bill and stay cool all season long.