10 ways to keep your energy costs down as the temperature goes up

With the arrival of summer comes the desire to crank up the AC and try to stay cool. Unfortunately, the cooler you get, the lighter your wallet gets. Inspired by a list of Summer Energy-Saving Tips at HouseLogic.com, here are 10 tips to help save money this summer.

1. Use the sun instead of your dryer.
Take advantage of that enormous heat source in the sky and hang your clothes out to dry instead of using your electricity gobbling dryer.

2. Keep the sun out of your house.
Use curtains and drapes to keep that enormous heat source from coming in through the windows and you won’t have to rely on your air conditioner as much.

3. Eliminate drafts.
Speaking of windows, outside air coming into your home can drastically affect your utility bills. Houselogic.com suggests:

Take a piece of tissue and go through your entire house holding the tissue near windows and door frames, electrical outlets, baseboards, and other possible leakage locations. If the tissue moves, consider sealing in these gaps with caulking and weather stripping. The materials you need are relatively inexpensive and can reduce loss energy loss by up to 10%.

4. If you aren’t using it, unplug it!
The phantom load of electricity that comes from your tv, computer and other appliances being plugged in when they are not in use can really add up. Make it easy on yourself and plug them into a power strip that you turn off when those appliances are not needed.

5. Use off-peak hours.
Electricity usage in many cities is charged by time-of-use rates. Find out when the off-peak hours are online and run your heavy appliances, like your dishwasher, during the off hours.
6. Be a smart washer!
There are several ways you can make your clothes washing more efficient and conservative. Wash with cold water whenever possible to avoid using the energy it takes to heat the water, wash the maximum amount in each load with the shortest wash time, and skip the extra rinse cycle.
7. Use energy efficient light bulbs.
LED’s and compact florescent bulbs may cost more at the checkout counter initially, but the amount of money that you save from their extended lifetimes and lower energy requirements far outweighs the initial cost.
8. Find incentives!
There are many ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home, such as energy monitors, and many city and state governments off incentives for becoming energy efficient. A little time and research can save you a great deal of energy and money!
9. Be energy conscious!
Small steps you take every day to conserve energy can pay off in a big way. Little things like not running the water while you brush your teeth, deciding what you want from the fridge before you open it instead of leaving the door open while you browse, taking shorter showers, watering the lawn at night, and turning off the lights when you leave the room can have a big impact on your utility bills.
10. Become the master of your room temperature.
Set your thermostat higher when you leave for work and know you won’t be in your home for a while, and turn the temp down to a conservative 77 degrees or so when you are home. If you have an air conditioner with a timer, set it to turn on shortly before you return home so that you aren’t cooling an empty house.