By Phil VanHorne
CEO & President, BlueRock Energy
To beat the stifling heat and humidity that summer brings, we all choose different methods to stay cool. Most of us use central air conditioning systems, window or portable AC units, ceiling, or room fans in our homes. Yet when the energy bill arrives, we may find ourselves losing our cool.
There are simple, inexpensive steps one can take to lower their energy bills even in the heat of the summer. Locking into a fixed price for natural gas and electricity before the summer months begin, will help maintain a steady monthly energy bill. Our BlueRock Energy Customer Experience Team is happy to advise you further.
In addition, there are simple actions you can take in and around your house to keep your energy bills down during the heat of the summer. Here are a few suggestions:
- Avoid the greenhouse effect.
- Utilize shades, curtains and blinds to keep the heat of the sun, particularly in the south- and west-facing windows from filtering into your home. This can help not only lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees, but can help you save up to 7% on your energy bills.
- If you live in a cooler climate, turn off the AC at night, open the windows and let the cool night air in.
- Consider putting awnings made of synthetic fabrics over the outside of your windows. Doing so can reduce solar heat by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. Other options could include adding indoor or outdoor shutters, using high reflective films, or insulated panels.
- Caulk and seal air leaks around windows and doors to keep the warm air from seeping in.
- Have your HVAC checked out by a professional to make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible.
- Use your fan wisely.
- Even if your air conditioning is on, a ceiling or standing fan will allow you to raise your thermostat setting about 4°F without reducing your comfort level.
- When buying ceiling fans, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Fans that earn the label move air 20% more efficiently, on average, than standard models.
- When using window fans, be sure place them in windows that are located on the shady side of the house to bring in the coolest air. Open another window on the same floor of the house (with doors open between rooms) to allow for cross wind and more productive, cooler air flow.
- Whole house fans are also a great way to supply ventilation throughout your home using your duct system. This might be something to consider when building a new home.
- Eat out more. Do less laundry and dishes, and other energy savers.
- I’m not giving you an excuse to go out to dinner every night this summer but instead of firing up the oven or stove top, consider grilling your meals outside or microwaving them. This will keep the temperature in your house down, which lessens your cooling system’s workload, and ultimately saves you money on your energy bills.
- Avoid using appliances, such as your dishwasher and washer & dryer until you have full loads. These activities will heat up your home, cause your cooling system to work harder, and run up your energy bills. Even using a computer, hair dryer, TV, etc. adds heat to your home so when they aren’t in use, turn them off.
- And while you’re at it, turn your water heater down. Who needs a hot shower in the summertime anyway? Heating your water accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.
- Change your light bulbs.
Changing your lightbulbs from incandescent bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) or LEDs could save about one-fourth of the energy you use, and the bulbs would last at least ten times longer. In fact, only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat. Yes, CFLs and LEDs take a few seconds to fully brighten but there are some bulbs that offer instant-on illumination. The claimed life span of CFLs is about 8000 hours. The more expensive LEDs, last approximate 30,000 – 50,000 hours. How long they last depends on how long you leave them on each day.
- Go jump in the lake.
When all else fails, keep cool by taking advantage of all the outdoor activities available in the summer months, like swimming, boating, golfing, or just relaxing in the hammock under a shady tree. In Upstate NY, summers, albeit glorious, are as short as the day is long. We know better than to complain about a little heat wave.
Protect yourself from potential market spikes that affect your energy bills, by locking into a fixed rate with BlueRock! Click here to sign up today or call us at (877) 280-4909.