For most people, electric bills are significantly higher in the summer than during the spring or fall.  Soaring electric bills have a direct correlation to soaring temperatures.  It only makes sense: when the outside air temperature is extremely high, your cooling system is forced to work overtime to maintain a comfortable temp inside your home.  However, there are a few simple things you can do to help keep your electric bill under control in the summer months.

  1. For starters, conduct an energy audit of your home.  Walk through the house and feel for any drafts.  Feel for air flow around windows and doors.  If you do feel some drafts, you can usually fix them by applying caulk or weather stripping.  Also, make sure you have an adequate level of insulation throughout the house, including the walls and the attic.  Inadequate insulation can tank your energy efficiency.  By weatherproofing your home, you can prevent the escape of cool air as well as the influx of heat from the outside world.
  2. Set your thermostat as high as your comfort level allows.  Adjusting the temperature by even a couple of degrees can make a difference in energy savings.  Also, invest in a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one, and set it to maintain a higher temperature during the hours you are away from home.
  3. Make use of ceiling fans and standing fans.  A ceiling fan can make you feel several degrees cooler than the ambient temperature.  This will allow you to raise the setting of your thermostat while still feeling comfortable.  Just make sure you don’t run the fans when you are not in the room.  Since fans make you feel cooler by creating a wind-chill effect, it’s counterproductive to run the fan when you aren’t there to feel it.
  4. Make sure you regularly maintain your cooling unit.  Have your unit professionally inspected at the beginning of the summer.  Make it a habit to change the filter monthly to keep air flowing freely.  Make sure any intakes are not blocked by furniture or other obstacles as well.
  5. Replace light bulbs in your house with more efficient lighting that runs at a cooler temperature.  You should also take advantage of natural light whenever possible and turn off lights when a room is not occupied.
  6. Avoid using the oven during the hottest part of the day.  Try to rely on your stove or microwave for cooking.  You should also try to minimize the heat introduced by the dishwasher, televisions, and computers.

Summer can be the most brutal part of the year.  In the midst of a heat wave, it’s only natural to want to come home and enjoy a refreshingly cool atmosphere.  Unfortunately, this usually results in higher-than-average electric bills.  By following these tips, however, you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature while still enjoying a reasonable energy bill.