If you live in a southern state like me, you probably know just how blazing hot summers can get. Before I moved to Texas, my idea of a hot summer day was topping off at 85F. The hot summer can really put some damage on the electric bill and I cringe when I see the month’s total cost post because it’s so unpredictable. Atleast with being a homeowner, I have some control over what I can do to help soften the blow like optimizing my home for energy efficiency. My goal is to one day install solar panels on our roof, but for now I’ve put a few simple tactics into play.
1. Replace incandescent lights.
These twisty looking bulbs can cost a wee bit more than your regular light bulbs, but they definitely help cut the cost of energy over the course of a year. CFL’s are know to use 75% less energy than a regular bulb, and what’s even better is that they last longer too!
2. Think of alternative ways to cool your home
Because of the way our AC unit is placed in the attic, the coldest room in our house is JP’s bedroom. His vent is the first one that the cold air reaches when it blows out, and it’s ice-cold – and it feels delicious to be in there on a hot day! Consequently, I place a fan in the door frame of his bedroom to help push that air out into the rest of the home. We also have ceiling fans and some oscillating fans scattered throughout the house. If you want to spring for a digital thermostat, that could save you up to 150$ a year or more. Or you can try to win a nest digital thermostat by heading over here and entering into their sweepstakes.
3. Change the way you do laundry
One thing I’ve noticed about living in the USA that’s not very common is hanging clothing out to dry. Maybe it’s just in my specific area, but when I was growing up in Canada most everyone hung their clothing out to dry in the warm months. We had a clothes line installed in the backyard and my mother would pin up the wet laundry and let the sun and air do it’s thing. There’s something to be said for how crisp and fresh your clothing smells when it’s dry. However, if you’re dead-set against letting your neighbors see your unmentionables hanging in the breeze, you can try to avoid using high temperatures on your dryer and be sure to clean the lint trap often!
4. Keep your water heater warm.
Warm for a water heater can be anywhere between 120 to 140 degrees. It’s not necessary to keep it much higher than that. If you have the extra money, you can opt for a tankless water heater – they are a little pricey but well worth it since they only heat water on demand.
5. Plant a tree.
Adding some shade in the front or back of your home helps cut down on how much direct sunlight hits your windows and heats up your home. Plus, if you like trees, it adds some landscaping to your home!
These are the simple things you can do.. If you want to get more drastic, you can go for something a little more intensive – like installing solar panels on the roof of your home. I’ve seen this done in my neighborhood and I think it’s probably the smartest thing you can do for your home! If you’ve never seen what it looks like, here’s a few examples:
Alot of people are frightened off by what the potential cost installing them can be, but Sunrun is a company that has made it affordable for the average family. Wouldn’t it be nice to save an average of 20% on electricity? Of course actual savings vary – see Sunrun’s site for more details. They install, insure, monitor and maintain a solar system that is designed specifically for you and your home. You just pay a low, locked-in rate for the electricity that the panels produce. Now you are in control over your electricity costs and protect yourself against unpredictable rate increases and surprises when you get your monthly bill. Sunrun can be leased, and homeowners can get started for as little as 0$ down!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.