7 Tips for Reducing Summer Energy Bills

The following post comes from the America Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Mel Hall-Crawford, Consumer Federation of America's Special Projects Director and resident energy efficiency expert, was recently interviewed for a U.S. News Money article about, “Smart Ways to Slash You Summer Bills”. With all of us turning up the cold air this summer, it’s important to insulate your wallet to prepare for the heat ahead. Here are some tips to stay cool:


o    Exchange your current energy-eating light bulbs for efficient, fluorescent bulbs – In CFA’s guide to buying new light bulbs, the CFA attributes the value of fluorescent bulbs to their durability and low energy consumption, and says each bulb will save you up to $50 over the bulb's lifetime.

o    Install a programmable thermostat – When used properly, this device can save users up to $150 per year. "[Programmable thermostats] are one of the most important things to install in the home," says Hall-Crawford, "The system should be programmed to allow the home to use less energy while no one is home. If the home is empty, it can be warmer."

o    Weather stripping your house – Hall-Crawford says weather stripping, when done correctly, can make your home more comfortable and save you money at the same time. "If you're letting hot air in during the summer, you're working against the cooling system, wasting energy and losing money on your energy bills," she says.

o    Upgrading your appliances – "The refrigerator has come a long way," Hall-Crawford says. "Modern models are much better than they were in the 80s and 90s, and the standards are just getting better." Hall-Crawford also suggests looking for the Energy Star logo, which means the product meets or exceeds federal efficiency standards.

o    Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit – The audit may reveal inexpensive ways to reduce home heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Keep in mind that a payback period of less than three years, or even five years, usually will save you lots of money in the long-term.

o    Weatherproof your home – Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss.

o    Use window coverings to block or let in sunshine – In summer, use these coverings to block sunlight, keeping your house cool. In winter, open the coverings to let sunshine warm the house. You could easily save more than $100 annually while being more comfortable.

For more ways to cut costs around the house this summer, check out these savings tips.

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