by Courtney Soinski
There are so many awesome things about Summer like poolside relaxation and cookouts with friends, but what about all the money you're blowing on energy costs at home? Thankfully, there are ways that you can cut costs during this time of year. You'll also be doing the environment a favor - According to the Energy Department, about half of a household's overall energy is used up by heating and cooling in the home.
Here are 5 helpful ways to cut down on pesky energy costs this Summer.
1. Clean your filters.
This is a major energy sucker in homes during the Summer season. Clean out your air filters at least once a month, which can be done very easily. All you have to do is run water through the filters and let them air dry. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it . . . and wallet will thank you!
2. Keep that cold air in!
During this time of year, it's especially important to keep all the cold air that's coming out of your home's vents to stay in your home and not seap outdoors. You can do this by applying inexpensive plastic film around older windows to prevent a draft. Other solutions include foam and caulking in problem areas along with extra attic insulation. Close the doors and vents in unused rooms to save even more energy.
3. Step away from the oven.
Did you know that baking a cake or any hot foods like casseroles will make your A/C go into overdrive? You can prevent this from happening by cooking colder foods, which will keep you cooler than eating hot foods. Make sense, right? If you can't live without those hot foods, use an outdoor grill or toaster oven.
4. Program your thermostat.
According to Geoff Godwin, division vice president of Emerson, programming your thermostat appropriately will save you about 30% in energy costs per year. Set it up so that the temperature automatically rises when you're not at home during the day. Most shocking to me is that about 25 million people own a programmable thermostat, but only half of them actually use the feature.
5. Unplug what you're not using.
If you're just hitting the power button on your TV after watching a show, you're doing it all wrong. Even though the power is off on your electronics, they are still sucking energy as long as they're plugged in. To save on costs, make sure you unplug things that you're not using. If you don't want to have to worry about unplugging things all the time, another option is to use a Smart Strip, which will cut power when it's not needed.