Here we are in the hottest time of the year in Florida, so our air-conditioning units are working hard. And this summer, we are spending a lot more time at home than we normally do, so they are working overtime.
Your air-conditioning unit is likely to be the appliance in your home that uses the most energy. The result is we can all be experiencing higher utility bills this summer than we are used to.
With the heat and humidity, raising the thermostat on your a/c unit may not be the best answer as you try to save energy and lower that bill.
However, there are some other things you can be doing to offset that big bill. Here are some ideas.
Start with lighting. Lighting can be a common cause of creating additional, undesirable heat in your home, but rather than turning the lights off, make sure you are using LED lighting. Not only do LED lights last much longer, they use less energy than incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs. Replacing them with LED lights is a simple way to help reduce energy costs.
Examine your switches, plugs and strips. Most newer switches and power strips can help lower your electricity costs with a button or app, or through a timer. With power strips, newer models may have a feature that shuts off power to what’s plugged into them either with a flip of a switch or after a certain period of time.
Your windows can be a factor. Windows without window coverings are going to let in a great deal of heat. If investing in window coverings is not an option, keep the shades or blinds closed on sun-facing windows, especially during the hottest times of the day.
Routinely have your HVAC units maintenance checked. A problem with your unit could not only have air blowing in hotter than it should be, it may also be consuming unnecessary energy. When you do have that maintenance check, make sure you have the latest model thermostat. Today’s thermostats can be controlled remotely. So, if you are going to be way from home longer than expected, you can turn the thermostat up so you are not blowing colder air into an empty house. Also, make sure your A/C filter is clean.
Here’s two more ideas to lower your energy cost. These are water related. First, consider cleaning clothes in cold water. It works just as well and saves on the cost of hot water. Second, make sure all your faucets and shower heads are of the water-conserving variety. That saves on water bills, as well as any electrical costs related to hot water.
Finally, make sure your air leaks are sealed. Sealing air leaks and properly insulating can save you up to 20 percent on your energy bill.
So, there’s no way around Florida’s hot, humid summer. However, there are some things you can do to be energy efficient. These ideas are a start to saving energy and saving money.