As summer looms and temperatures begin to rival the surface of the sun, Southwest Floridians know one thing for sure: their energy bills will probably soar as high as the thermometer.
Here are some helpful tips to take your energy bill down a notch, saving money and going green all at once!
Tip #1: Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Cooling your home in the Florida summer (well, let’s be real, cooling your home 10 months of the year…) is one of the biggest energy monsters you’ll battle. Keeping your thermostat set to 78º or higher or, even better, installing a programmable or smart thermostat to optimize your cooling can help keep energy costs down significantly.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature dependant on the time of day, so if you are out of the house for most of the day, you can set the temperature higher. That way, you aren’t cooling an empty home.
Tip #2: Turn On the Ceiling Fans
Use ceiling fans to keep rooms feeling cooler. By running a ceiling fan, you’ll be able to raise your thermostat by 4º without sacrificing your comfort. Be sure you choose a well-rated Energy Star fan to install, and turn it off when you aren’t in the room.
Tip #3: Reduce Your Appliance Usage
Don’t incidentally heat your home with lights or appliances. Avoid using the oven during the day, consider running the dishwasher overnight or allowing them to air dry. Install efficient lights that run cooler than traditional incandescents (incandescents release 90% of their energy as heat, not light!). Don’t leave heat-generating electronics like TVs and computers running constantly.
Tip #4: Seal Your Windows
Check windows and doors for any air leaks, make sure all air conditioning ducts are in good shape and leak free – cold air flowing into your attic from leaky AC duct work can be a huge energy drain, wasting valuable cool air and putting a strain on your air conditioner.
Tip #5: Insulate the Water Heater
Insulate your water heater and any accessible hot water pipes. Think of this like an insulated mug – the heat will stay in the water heater, keeping the water hot, so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep a consistent temperature, and while keeping the heat in, it isn’t heating the room around it.
Tip #6: Cold Water Wash
Wash clothes in cold water. Most detergents are formulated to work in any temperature. In addition to saving energy and hot water, your clothes will stay brighter.
Tip #7: Tweak your Temperatures
Optimize your refrigerator and freezer temperatures. Most refrigerators work best when set between 37 and 40 degrees, most freezers work best at about 5 degrees. Also, it’s a good idea keep your freezer full – the more cold things in the freezer, the less your freezer has to work to keep cold. (It’s a good idea to freeze containers of water; they take up space, keep the freezer working efficiently, and can be used as a ready water supply in the case of an emergency, like a hurricane.)
Tip #8: Light Your Home with LEDs
Lighting can make up about 25% of your energy costs, so opt for installing LED lighting. Incandescent bulbs use at least 80% more energy than LEDs. LED lights are more durable, longer lasting, and run cooler than incandescent or CFL bulbs.
LED lighting is also a great choice if you have a backup generator. It takes so much less energy to power LED bulbs, you’ll be able to power up to 30 LED lights with the same energy that you would power one incandescent. (Your whole home could stay lit throughout a power loss with the same generator power to power one conventional bulb!)
Tip #9: Invest in Smart Switches
Install dimmers, smart switches, and motion detecting switches to maximize energy savings. Smart switches that operate via a mobile app are ideal, since you can turn lights on and off remotely.
For information on how Southwest Florida Electric can help you upgrade your home to maximize your energy efficiency, contact us today!