Why Does the Energy Bill Spike Up During Summer Months?
In many dry-hot regions like California, electricity bills tend to spike up during summer due to the increased demand for energy to cool residential and commercial buildings, which demonstrates the fundamental concept in economics, i.e., the higher the demand, the higher the price is.
Aside from the higher electricity demand, the dry season means dams, which are hydropower sources, cannot produce as much electricity as during the rainy season. This factor also contributes to the higher energy cost in the summer months.
However, there are energy-saving tips that can help you reduce your energy bills. And when you combined them all, you could slash up to 50% of your electricity consumption, or even higher.
Top 10 Energy Saving Tips for Summer
- Replace your air filters.
According to the US Department of Energy, a dirty air filter forces the HVAC system to work more than necessary, causing it to use up to 15% more energy. For this reason, you should regularly replace or clean your filters to reduce your electricity consumption.
This is a list of guidelines on when to replace your filters:
- 1-2 inch filters need to be replaced every 1-3 months
- 3-4 inch filters need to be replaced every 6-9 months
- 5-6 inch filters need to be replaced every 9-12 months
- Place your thermostat in the center of your home.
Placing your thermostat on an interior wall and away from the window, door, and appliances that emit heat will lead to a more accurate reading, which in turn ensures that your AC unit can work properly.
- Replace traditional lights with LED.
LED lights are far superior to incandescent light bulbs and other older designs because they use 75% less energy, last 25 times longer, and do not emit heat. In fact, they are cool to the touch because they don’t release heat in the form of infrared radiation.
- Eliminate all “energy vampires.”
You may not be aware of it, but all the electronics and appliances turned off but plugged into a power socket account for up to 20% of your monthly electricity bill. Fortunately, you can address this problem with a simple solution: Unplug these phantom energy suckers.
- Make your windows energy efficient.
You don’t have to buy new windows just to improve your home’s energy efficiency. There are simple hacks you can do such as closing your blinds in the daytime, using thick curtains to block out the sun, and caulking the interior and exterior edges of your windows.
Another simple and cheap way to improve the energy efficiency of your windows is to apply a solar film on their interior side. This DIY solution can block up to 80% of the sun’s heat, translating to 5-10% less cooling cost.
- Consider outdoor cooking.
Do you know that having your oven on for any length of time is enough to raise the temperature in your house by up to 5 degrees? This forces your AC to work harder than necessary, which results in a higher electricity bill.
A good alternative is to use outdoor grilling or cooking with a microwave or slow cooker.
Meanwhile, it is always a good idea to use heat-emitting appliances like oven, dryer, and clothes iron at night when the outside temperature is cooler.
- “Wash” the right way.
You don’t need hot water to wash your clothes, your dishes, and even yourself during summer. Also, you may want to skip the dryer entirely and instead take advantage of the sun’s piercing heat to air dry your clothes.
On average, water heating accounts for 14-25% of your home’s energy consumption. This means that skipping hot water or turning your heater down to the warm setting is enough to slash your electricity bill by a quarter.
- Use fans and ventilations correctly.
Use a bathroom fan to remove humidity and heat during your bath time. The same thing applies to your laundry area and kitchen where heat-emitting appliances can increase your home’s temperature by a few degrees.
Also, turn off the ceiling fan when not in use. Contrary to popular belief, it only cools the people, not rooms, by creating this wind-chill effect.
- Make sure your AC is working properly.
The general rule of thumb is to have your AC units (or even your entire HVAC system) undergo a yearly professional inspection and maintenance. Nonetheless, you should also do your part to make sure that they are working properly.
Replacing or cleaning the air filters, removing anything that blocks the vents and condenser coils, and vacuuming the air vents can ensure that your AC is working at its optimal performance.
- Choose ENERGY STAR appliances.
Brands with an ENERGY STAR label use 15-30% less energy than ordinary appliances. So if your dishwasher, dryer, or fridge needs replacement, opt for something that carries this “stamp,” which as of this writing is the only one recognized by the US government.