If you opened your power bill in June and asked yourself, “How do I lower my utility bills?,” don’t worry. The simple answer is to make your home energy efficient.
There is no doubt July and August bring the hottest temperatures of the year. Compared to the porch-sitting, brisk weather we enjoy in Fall and Spring, Summer in the Lowcountry has us closing our windows and running the air conditioner 24 hours a day.
So, how can you stay comfortable this season without breaking the bank? In this article, we will teach you a few tips and tricks for how to save on utility bills during summer!
Good news: There are many ways to make your home as energy-efficient as possible. Below is a list of inexpensive, low-stakes investment tips and action items to lower your utility bills this summer. Chances are, the steps you take today will help tomorrow and long into the future.
Lowering Utility Bills: Check Windows and Doors
Chances are, there is something you can do to improve the seal around the openings to your home. Even in a brand new build, window seals might not be as tight as you’d like.
Take a few minutes to check the seal around all of your windows and doors. Most likely, you will find at least one area that needs a fresh application of caulk (if it’s cracking) and/or weather-stripping foam, vinyl, metal, or other material to make sure the closure is as sealed as possible.
Pro Tip: For non-operational windows and doors that are not in the budget for replacement yet, it’s a best practice to seal with caulk to ensure no air leaks out. When you replace it with a functional window or door, you can recall these tips for getting the best seal!
Once you have done this, there is one other inexpensive way to lower your utility bills as it relates to windows and doors. Even if you have the latest, newest, best version of energy-efficient glass in your home, blackout curtains can do wonders to lower the air conditioner use.
When you are gone for the day, at work, running errands, or out of town, draw your curtains closed to reduce the amount of sunlight let into your home. If you don’t want to replace curtains, check retailers for blackout curtain backing to attach to existing curtain panels.
Being in the Lowcountry, our tendency is likely to throw the curtains open each morning and take in the gorgeous views, wildlife, and nearly year-round sunlight. Resist the urge to do this during the summer months (except when you are IN the room) and you will be pleasantly surprised with your savings!
How to Lower Utility Bills: Repair or Upgrade Insulation
When you are exploring avenues on how to save on utility bills, a big factor is insulation. How efficient is your home in keeping all the cool air inside?
Equally as important as air leaks, insulation in the attic is crucial, especially if your home doesn’t have shade from trees. This exercise is hot and cramped, but worth the effort - head into the attic and examine your insulation. Are there any missing patches? Replace them easily by picking some extra insulation up from your local home store.
There have been many improvements to insulation in the last decade and your home may benefit from a pricey upgrade, saving you money in the long run. Spray foam insulation is certainly the standard in new builds these days, and if you are ready to make a long-term investment in your comfort and energy cost savings, check with local insulation companies to price spray foam.
Additionally, if you are planning a renovation in your home, this is a good time to check the insulation in the exterior walls and consider an upgrade before replacing drywall.
Energy Efficient Appliances Lower Utility Bills
The next time you are considering an upgrade to your appliances, make sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label. This means the appliance evaluation is backed by the government, certifying it uses the energy efficiently and performs well in addition to being a better appliance choice for the environmental impact.
If replacing appliances is not in the budget at this time, there are a few tricks to make our older appliances run better.
How to Make an Old Fridge More Energy Efficient:
Clean coils (like any machine, clean parts ensure maximum efficiency)
Replace seals (like your windows and doors, cold air escapes through weak seals making the machine work harder)
Move it slightly away from the wall (the parts circulate air; the easier it is to move, the less energy it needs)
How to Make a Dishwasher More Energy Efficient:
Use a basic setting and let the dishes air-dry versus using the machine dry setting
Skip pre-rinse. Put a tub in your sink and let the dishes soak and load the dishwasher one time each day.
Wait until it’s full before running. If your dishes were soaked you don’t have to worry about old food and you can run it every other day, or every three days based on how fast it fills up.
Pro tip: check with the city (or your water/sewer/trash provider) for a bonus on installing new water-efficient appliances like low-flow toilets, washing machines, and even water heaters!
This summer is the best time to maximize your dollars on energy efficiency. The more actions you take now, the more you will save over time. In summary:
Check your windows and doors. These are the most common areas that leak air.
Attic insulation can help keep the cool air in your home. Book a consultation with an insulation company for a thorough evaluation and to determine possible upgrade
Consider new, ENERGY STAR appliances the next time you're shopping for replacements, or use a few simple tricks to make your older appliances more efficient.
Please share how to save on utility bills? Which of these energy-efficient tips will you do first?
Let us know in the comments below!
Posted by Paige Rose on
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