With the increase in temperatures outside, it is likely that you will experience an increase in your electric bill. Take these simple steps to help decrease your energy consumption.
1. Keep It Clean. Air filters need to be cleaned out regularly. At a minimum, change them every 3 months. Dirt and dust that collect can obstruct air flow, thus reducing efficiency.
2. Seal It Up. Ducts that move air to and from a central air conditioner are big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Also check windows and doors for air leaks. To test if you have airflow, be sure the window or door is closed tightly and hold a lit candle near the seams. If the flame bends, there’s a good chance you have a draft. Use caulk and weather stripping to plug up drafts.
3. Close The Blinds. Rooms get hotter, especially south and west facing, when there are no blinds to block sunlight.
4. Program The Thermostat. When you’re not home, there is no need to blast the A/C. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can set temperatures higher during the day. Through proper use, you can save about $180 a year on energy costs.
5. Use Fans Or Set Fan To Auto. Simply a nice breeze can make the room feel cooler. If you have central air, running the fan continuously on the system uses a lot of energy and actually reduces the effectiveness.
6. Change Light Bulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs for compact fluourescents (CFLs) as they use less energy and generate less heat.
7. Grill More! Hotter space = More work for your cooling system. Limit the use of heat generating appliances (oven, dryer, dishwasher) in home during the day, when temperatures are highest.
8. Unplug. Gadgets suck energy when plugged into a power source. Plug devices into a power strip that can be turned off when not in use. Set your computer to ‘hibernate’ or ‘sleep’ when not in use.
9. Shop For Efficiency. Use Energy Star guidelines to determine the best choice when making a purchase on an appliance. Also, you may benefit from incentives offered for purchasing an energy efficient unit. Check government and utility deals at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
10. Get A Tune Up. A yearly tune up of your cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
National Grid has lots more information on this topic, including their 3% Less Initiative, which encourages customers to reduce energy consumption 3% every year for the next 10 years.