How to Lower Your Energy Bill and Stop the Thermostat Madness
Recently, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency just came out with new recommendations on how to run your a/c at home. What they are suggesting is to set your thermostat at 78 degrees when you are home; 82 degrees when you are asleep; and 85 degrees when you are away. What?!? I don’t know about you, but if I did this at my home there would be a full-on mutiny.
The new DEP recommendations are a little far fetched in my opinion. When it is hot and humid we will do whatever is needed to find relief, but this can lead to some pretty scary electric bills. And if we take the DEP’s recommendations poor Fido and Ms. Kitty are going to get a little toasty at 85 degrees when you’re out for the day. You could always forgo some meals and skip some of those prepaid college payments, but there is a more common-sense way to lower those bills and not be miserable.
Start off by making sure your a/c is in top working condition. I know this seems like a self-serving statement considering I am an a/c contractor, but it is true. The next step is to help reduce the heat load in your home, which can be done by strategically planting trees and bushes to intercept the suns powerful rays and installing curtains on the sunny side of your home. You can also have an energy audit done, and normally the local power company will do this free of charge. The auditor will come into your home and look at different factors that contribute to heat gain and energy usage. Some of their tasks will include looking at the insulation in the attic, energy efficiency of your windows and doors, and looking at appliance power usage and the overall energy efficiency of your home.
Changes in your daily habits can also reduce energy usage while still staying comfortable. You should run your ceiling fans all year long. By moving air across your skin, heat is more readily evaporated. By running your ceiling fans this can enable you to raise your thermostat a degree or two. Schedule heat-generating activities in the evening such as showers, running your dishwasher, clothes dryer, and cooking. While cooking contributes a great deal of heat in our homes, a great way to reduce heat while cooking is to take it outside and grill. If you are going to cook inside, make sure your stovetop exhaust is on even when running your oven.
In closing, some common sense goes a long way in saving energy and resources. Drink lots of water, apply some of the tips posted above, and be patient. It won’t be long until it’s not 90 plus degrees from dusk to dawn.
Thanks as always for reading.
Bryan Hayes along with his brother Todd run the only island based air conditioning and electric company for over 30 years.
Bryan can be reached for comments at Bryan@sanibelair.com