10 Easy, Quick Ways to Reduce Summer Electricity Costs

July 31, 2015
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10 Easy, Quick Ways to Reduce Summer Electricity Costs
By: Rob DiFrancesco and Paul Steidler

1. Rigorously manage air conditioning settings
Your thermostat can be a powerful tool for conserving energy and money. When you are out and about, try keeping the air conditioning above 78 degrees. For every degree setting over 78, you shave approximately 6 to 8% off your home energy bill. You can make the savings even greater by installing a new smart thermostat that is programmable and remotely controllable.

2. Keep air-conditioning filters clean
Clogged or dirty air filters in your air conditioner can block the flow of air, making your air conditioner work harder and use more energy. You can save energy and money by replacing filters promptly.

3. Use fans whenever possible
Even if you have air conditioning, using ceiling and whole-house fans keeps your home cooler and gives the AC a break. The net effect is to save energy and money. Whole-house fans can be installed in the ceiling between living spaces and the attic, or into a window.

4. Close blinds during the day
Windows, curtains and blinds can go to work for you and your budget in the summertime. Close blinds and windows during the day to keep out the hot sun.

5. Close vents in unused rooms
When guest bedrooms and other rooms are not in use, make sure the vents are closed to save electricity.

6. Keep the freezer full
A full freezer actually uses less electricity than an empty one. If your freezer typically has a lot of open space, consider filling it with frozen gallons of water.

7. Prepare food with energy use in mind
In summer, you save a great deal of energy by cooking on a grill outside rather than preparing meals inside. When heating food indoors, using the microwave instead of a conventional oven will conserve energy too.

8. Do loads of wash back to back
If you have a lot of laundry, doing the loads back to back saves energy because the dryer does not have to re-heat fully in between loads. It is also helpful to stick with cold water, wash full loads, and clean your dryer’s lint filter after each use.

9. Use more efficient light bulbs.
You will save money and use 70 to 90 percent less energy to light your home by changing from traditional incandescent bulbs (which can no longer be sold) to Energy Star-certified light bulbs. In fact, you may want to consider switching to the new bulbs before the old ones burn out. You will benefit immediately.

10. Inspect the refrigerator
It is helpful to periodically make sure the coils behind the refrigerator are dusted and clean. Also, if you notice moisture on your refrigerator door the door seals should be replaced to better retain cold air.

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About the Authors: Rob DiFrancesco is director and Paul Steidler is communications director of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA). Founded in November 2003, New York AREA is a diverse group of more than 150 business, labor, and community groups whose mission and purpose is to ensure that New York has an ample and reliable electricity supply, and economic prosperity for years to come. New York AREA helps to educate policy makers, businesses, and the general public regarding the necessity and importance of safe, low-cost and reliable electricity.