Few possessions are more valuable to someone than an air conditioner unit is to a Floridian. We run our AC units nearly 24/7 most of the year. Then, in the winter, we often turn on that heat at night and crank up the air conditioning during the day. The constant running of our HVAC systems means one thing: high electric bills.
The average annual electricity cost to a Florida homeowner is 40% higher than the national average. To make things worse, experts are predicting that utility bills will be up over 50% this winter from last winter. With the economy struggling, and a lot of people still recovering from the pandemic, the increased electric bills will put a hole in the monthly budget. But, there are ways to help save some money on your next electric bill.
How To Save On Your Electric Bill
There are several small changes that you can make within your home that can lead to big savings this winter on your electric and utilities bills. Here are a few that we suggest.
4 Ways To Lower Your Air Conditioning Cost
You knew with “Air Conditioning” in our company name that we were going to lead off with AC tips! Air conditioning accounts for roughly 6% of all energy used in the USA. Air conditioning costs USA homeowners, 29 billion dollars annually. While running your air conditioner when it gets hot in Florida is unavoidable, there are things you can do to lower the cost associated with it.
Set The Thermostat Higher
If nobody is home in the day, set the thermostat to a higher temperature. A study by the Department of Energy found that you can save 10% on your electricity bill if you increase your thermostat by 7 degrees when you are not home.
Note, it is important that when you do arrive back home, you simply set the thermostat back to the original desired temperature. Dropping the thermostat 10+ degrees in hopes of it cooling quicker will only lead to increased energy consumption and a bigger strain on your HVAC system.
Cover Your Windows
It is estimated that around 76 percent of the sunlight that hits windows enters the home in the form of heat. Using a solar or mesh screen can help to redirect the heat from entering your home. Another alternative to covering your windows is to plant trees outside of your window that would block or absorb the sunlight before it enters your home.
John Krigger, CEO of Saturn Resource Management said, “Most heat that accumulates inside a house comes directly from the sun shining onto the roof or through windows and heating the house directly.” Anything you can do to block some of that sun from shining in will help decrease your cooling needs.
Change Your Filter
Changing your air filters regularly is vital to having a healthy and efficient HVAC system. If your air filter is dirty, you’re throwing away money.
While most air filter labels will say to change them every 90 days, if you live in Florida, you should change your filter every month. Regularly changing your air filters could save you up to a few hundred dollars per year.
Have Your HVAC System Serviced
Having your HVAC unity regularly serviced will help ensure it is running efficiently and not wasting electricity. Any cost associated with having your system services will be offset by the savings you will experience from having your system running and optimal meaningful.
Getting your HVAC unit checked by a professional at least once per year is estimated to save you up to $500 per year. As we head into the winter months when energy costs are increasing, you’ll want to make sure to have your system checked.
3 Other Ways To Lower Your Utility Bills
In Florida, costs associated with heating and cooling are often what are focused on to lower the electric bill. However, there are other things you can do to lower your monthly electric bill.
Turn Off Phantom Power Loads
A phantom power load is something that is turned off but is still plugged into an outlet. While it may seem that no electricity is being drawn into an appliance while it is turned off or not in use, they do draw energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported that 20% of electric costs is due to phantom loads. Not all of these phantom power loads will be ones you’ll want to unplug. For example, your cable or wifi router may take a while to reboot if you are constantly unplugging them. But, simple things such as unplugging the microwave can go a long way towards reducing the phantom power loads.
Clean And Close Your Refriderator
We all know someone that yells when a door is left open, or a refrigerator door is left open, that, “you’re throwing money away!” They’re right!
A study by the University of Florida concluded that around 7% of regriderators energy is wasted by excessive door opening. Furthermore, energy is wasted by regrdierating food that ends up not being consumed. Cleaning out old food, and keeping the door shut will save you money.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Washing machines are big energy consumers. But, nobody wants you walking around in stinky clothes. Though, while you do need to regularly use your watching machine, washing clothes with only cold water, unless hot water is absolutely necessary, will save money.
Consumer Reports estimated that 75% of washing machine related energy costs is from heating water. Using cold water on most washing cycles will likely save you over $100 this year in electric costs.
There are several other small changes you could implement to save money on your electric bill. However, the most important thing is to be mindful of things that lead to higher energy consumptions. With higher energy costs coming this year, any little thing you can do to cut down on electricity use can have big savings.