It’s that time of the month again: paying the electric bill. For Florida residents, this can be a painful endeavor, having to fork over the big bucks to power that continuous stream of air conditioning.
But you may be surprised to learn that there are more subtle ways to lower your energy bill that you may not be aware of.
Here are some helpful tips for cutting your electricity costs and going just a little more green at home:
1. Buy a programmable thermostat.
Boy, can cooling costs dip into a Floridian’s wallet. One way to quickly lower your cooling costs while still keeping your home comfortable is to better regulate your thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature depending on the time of day, so you aren’t tempted to change it. You can choose the settings based on when you’re home and not, or when you’re active vs sedentary.
For example, 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. Many programmable thermostats also allow for remote access, granting you the ability to start your AC 30 minutes before getting home to cool your space without wasting electricity.
2. Replace your air conditioning filter (or air conditioner).
Living in Florida, you know that your air conditioning has more than a full-time job— let’s just say it’s always working overtime! Because your air conditioner is one of the heaviest run electronics in your home and one that uses a ton of energy, it’s crucial to take good care of it.
When’s the last time you checked on your air filter? Dust-clogged or aged filters can affect the performance of your unit, making it work harder and heat up faster, wasting more energy. If you don’t have an ENERGY STAR-efficient central air conditioner, know that some models can save you up to 30% on their cost-to-operate over federal minimum models.
3. Utilize ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans help to circulate the flow of air throughout your home, helping your AC units to perform better by better dispersing airflow. Just the sensation of air blowing across your skin can create a cooling effect, even if the temperature isn’t drastically changed. Because of this circulation and added sensation, most Floridians who actively use ceiling fans can raise their thermostat by 4º F without sacrificing comfort.
When shopping for fans, look for ENERGY STAR-rated fans, which are typically 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units. These units use improved motors and blade designs combined with cutting-edge technology to reduce your energy bill costs with the same usage frequency as traditional fans.
4. Tweak your fridge and freezer temperatures.
These are typically areas that we don’t think to adjust, but cranking your refrigerator or freezer too cold can be wasting a lot of energy. Most refrigerators work best when set between 37 and 40 degrees F, while most freezers work best at about 5 degrees.
Also, few realize that you can reduce your electricity bill by keeping your freezer full. The more cold things in the freezer, the less your freezer has to work to keep cold. Don’t have enough food to keep your freezer packed? Freeze containers of water; they take up space, keep the freezer working efficiently, and can be used as a ready water supply come hurricane.
5. Light your home with LEDs.
“ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace,” according to Energy.gov. Because of this, LED lights are a more durable, longer-lasting option for your home than incandescent or CFL bulbs. To lower your energy bill a smidge, swap out older bulbs for bulbs sure to last for many years to come.
Curious as to what bulbs are best for energy-efficiency? Check out our other blog, Halogen, CFL & LED Light Bulbs: What’s the Difference & Are They Worth It?.
6. Don’t forget about your water bill!
You’re so focused on lowering your electricity bill, have you considered your home water usage? Don’t forget, you pay to heat your water. That means when you’re taking long, roasting showers, washing clothes on hot, or running a steamy dishwasher, you’re being billed for it.
Think of a few ways you can use water without the heat:
- Take shorter showers and buy a low-flow shower head. Some homeowners with slower-to-warm water heaters are guilty of turning on the shower and walking away for a bit, letting it warm up and forgetting it’s going. Older showers use up to 5 gallons of water per minute, according to The USGS. That’s a ton of wasted water! Be mindful of your time behind the curtain and consider turning off the water while shaving, which typically wastes about a gallon of H20 in-and-of-itself. Or, purchase a shower head that regulates how much water you use per minute. You may be surprised that the right dispersion method can make it feel like just as “strong” of a flow, with far less water.
- Wash your clothes on “cold” and get an ENERGY STAR-rated washer. Even newer washers use 25 gallons of water per load, which is a lot to heat! The good news is, most laundry detergents are formulated to work at any temperature— so switch that dial to cold or cool, all the time. In addition to saving energy and hot water, your clothes will stay brighter. By switching to an energy-efficient washer, you can lower your electric bill even more!
- Don’t always run the dishwasher on hot. Scrap or lightly rinse your dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher so the cold setting can get the remaining food off without high heat. Also, save up for a better dishwasher, knowing you’ll have long-term energy savings. Older dishwashers can use up to 16 gallons per cycle. In contrast, ENERGY STAR models use 6 gallons or less per wash cycle and can often run faster and more efficiently, reducing both your heating costs and electricity usage!
Waste less water by understanding how many gallons you use per day with The USGS’ water calculator.
Maximize Your Energy Savings
Want more energy savings, beyond your electric bill? Check out our other blog, 6 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home, where we’ll talk more about:
- Installing dimmer switches or motion detection
- Investing in energy-efficient windows
- Checking your home’s insulation
- And more!
Our team is just a phone call away to help install energy-efficient lighting fixtures or bulbs, ceiling fans to circulate airflow, smart thermostats for temperature control, and just about any electrical work you can imagine.
Give us a call at 239-307-0716, today.