Hot summer causing high utility bills.

Save Money On Your Electric Bill

Your electric bill might not be the largest bill in your budget, but it is surely the most variable one. During the summer months, electric bills can sky rocket due to air conditioning usage. This can cause havoc with an otherwise stable budget, but there are ways to reduce your electric usage. Here are some tips.

1) Use A Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat will allow you to adjust your air conditioning so that it runs less when you are not at home. You can simply set it to turn the temperature up while you are away and then have your temperature return to normal an hour before you get back. Not having or not using your programmable thermostat is like throwing money away each month, especially since you will not even notice a comfort difference.

If you have an adjustable thermostat already (most newer homes come with them, but few people use them) learn how to use it. Your manual is likely long gone, but there are plenty of online manuals available.

For those of you who do not have one installed, a quick trip to the home improvement store can solve this problem. Pick an inexpensive model for around 20 dollars and forgo the trendy Nest and similar thermostats. The fancy units work well, but they are too costly and it may take a full year or more to recoup the expense.

As far as installation goes, a thermostat is fairly simple to install, so even a novice can hook one up. Just follow instructions and note how your original wires are routed before you remove them. Hint: Take pictures.

2) Leave Your Temperature Higher

You see this money saving tip everywhere, because it is probably the single biggest thing that you can do to lower your cooling bill. Your air conditioner should be set no lower than 75 degrees, and the higher you can set it, the lower your bill will be.

Offset the difference in temperature by dressing more temperature appropriate. Just wearing shorts and a tank top can make a huge difference in how you feel at home. Also, take advantage of the cooling effect of airflow by making use of ceiling fans and portable fans. If you do not have any, pick them up inexpensively on Facebook or a builder surplus store.

3) Replace Window & Door Seals

Leaky door and window seals can cause the temperature in your rooms to spike due to the simple fact that they allow cooled air to escape and hot air to enter. Luckily, window seals are cheap and easy to replace.

Take a tour of your home and use your hand to detect airflow. If you notice a draft, pick up a new seal at a home improvement store. Most seals can be replaced for around 5 dollars and just a few minutes of your time.

4) Install Window Insulation Film

If you have older windows, you may benefit from installing plastic insulation film. The film goes on the inside frame of the window and makes your windows perform similar to double pane windows. The newly created air gap serves as a barrier that keeps both heat and drafts out.

Window insulation film is available on Amazon and at many home improvement stores. It is incredibly easy to install, but it will block your usage of the window. You will still be able to see out, but will be unable to raise or lower the glass. A small price to pay for saving money on a large household expense.

5) Add Attic Insulation

If you have an older home, you likely have minimal attic insulation and this is destroying your electric bill in the summer. During hot days, you can probably physically feel the heat pouring down from your attic and this is not a good thing.

Modern homes have a minimum of 10 to 14 inches of attic insulation, while homes from the 1980’s and earlier likely only have a few inches. Some truly old homes might not have any at all.

While insulation is not cheap, it can be a DIY project and it will quickly pay for itself both with energy savings and an improvement in home comfort. Even better, you may qualify for an energy rebate on your electric bill when upgrading that insulation. To find out, contact your electricity provider.

6) Clean Your Coils

Have you ever had your air conditioning unit coils cleaned? If not, and if your unit is over 5 years old, cleaning your coils may restore some of the efficiency to your system. Over time, dust settles and sticks to the coils, potentially lowering their performance. Remove the buildup and improve system performance.

There are two ways to clean your air conditioning coils, and this should not be confused with air duct cleaning, which is worthless. To get your coils cleaned, you can either call an air conditioning company or clean them yourself with a spray, readily available at most home improvement stores. The method you choose will depend on your DIY comfort levels and how accessible your coils are.

7) Have A Free Energy Audit

Power companies are struggling to provide enough power to all of the residents and businesses that they serve. This is never more true than during the summer months when energy usage spikes across the board.

To reduce the demand on their system, these energy providers will usually pay for a free energy audit. They will actually send someone into your home, at no cost to you, in order to pinpoint areas of waste. Find out how to make your home more efficient, save money on your electric bill and do it all without costing you a dime.

8) Get A New System

Last, but not least, you have the option of installing a new air conditioning system. While it might seem odd to lay down 4000 dollars or more to save money, if your system is old enough, it might make sense.

If you have an electric bill that is 300 dollars or higher, the energy savings from a new system could counteract the monthly payments on your new system. This is especially true if you have good credit and are able to secure a zero percent interest deal.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.