Temperatures are rising which means that your utility bills are likely on the rise too. With the average American spending around $200 a month on energy, most are looking for a way to decrease those prices in any way they can. Simply not using air conditioning is an unrealistic option in Texas, but there are changes you can make to save money and still stay cool this Texas heat.
CHECK YOUR APPLIANCES
While newer appliances are easily labeled with their estimated yearly cost by Energy Guide, older appliances aren't as easy to determine. Using the Department of Energy's online appliance energy calculator, you can decide if investing in newer appliances with a lower operating cost could save you money in the long run. You can also have an HVAC professional check your equipment to ensure it is the appropriate size for your home. Having a system that is too large or too small can create unnecessary costs.
Replacing appliances and equipment can be a large up-front cost, so if you're looking for immediate savings, even small amounts, quick fixes are your best choice. Some options include: using cold water for laundry, changing the direction of your ceiling fan, and using energy-efficient LED light bulbs. Adding insulating curtains to windows on the East and West sides of a house will block out direct sun at the hottest parts of the day and keep your home's temperature from creeping up. It is also a good practice to regularly check your doors for sealing issues. Replacing damaged or worn weather-stripping is a very effective way of keeping the cold air inside and the heat out.
GET YOUR AIR CONDITIONER SERVICED
Your home's air conditioner needs to be regularly serviced to keep it operating efficiently. Annual inspection and service from a licensed HVAC professional will help ensure that the internal workings stay clean and could help you avoid costly coil replacements. Pairing a programmable thermostat or smart home temperature control system can also help your home maintain a consistent temperature. Maintaining a consistent temperature in your home will help you avoid expensive energy spikes and put less stress on your A/C equipment.
FIND AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME
If you are on the hunt for a new home this summer, think ahead and make energy efficiency a priority in your home search. Keep square footage to the minimum you think you will need - the more unnecessary space, the more space you'll be cooling (or heating this winter). Certain home features, like sun rooms and high ceilings, also contribute to unnecessary space or space that heats quicker than normal. Establishing your space and usage needs before home shopping can help you identify your dream home faster.
FIND AN EXPERT
If you want more guidance on how to save energy, you can contact your local utility company. Many provide free energy audits and can offer professional advice on ways to lower your energy use and save you money.