Summer can mean an increase in family activities and trips. Unfortunately, it can also mean an increase in electric bills. The high cost of electricity use in the summer can greatly stress a family’s budget. Fortunately, there are some important actions that can keep costs down.
Scheduling a tune-up for your air-conditioning unit can keep things running smoothly and efficiently. If you haven’t used an appliance company before and don’t know which one to use, visit the Better Business Bureau online at www.bbb.org and search for “Air Conditioning Systems – Cleaning” to see what it says about companies in your area.
If your electric bill skyrockets in the summer time and makes it challenging for you to pay, ask your electric company about levelized billing. With levelized billing you pay the same amount each month instead of having very expensive bills during the summer months.
If you are considering replacing an appliance, be sure to consider Energy Star products. Energy-efficient products can save a significant, noticeable amount of money on your monthly utility bills.
People often have strong opinions about whether or not you should adjust your home’s thermostat when you leave the house for awhile: Should you turn the temperature up, or leave it where it’s at? The U.S. Department of Energy says it won’t save you money to adjust your thermostat if you will only be away from home for a few hours. However, if you will be out of your home for half of the day, it should save you money to adjust the thermostat.
Use ceiling fans if you have them. Use them alone, or along with your air-conditioning to make it feel cooler in the room. Fans cost as little as one-cent an hour to operate, while air-conditioning can cost 60 times more.
Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilation fans for short periods of time. In just one-hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of cooled air that you paid a lot of money for.
Mark Foster is Director of Education with Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA). CCOA is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Contact CCOA at 800.889.4916 or visit them online at www.CCOAcares.com.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.