Just about everything costs more right now, that goes for our groceries, supplies and anything and everything in our homes, including electricity bills. Experts at Consumer Reports share some simple tips to cut utility costs without sacrificing the comforts of home.
As we continue into the hot summer months, it’s little comfort to learn that 13 percent of a home’s energy costs are for cooling!
Consumer Reports breaks down three simple ways you can take some heat off your electric bill.
1. Adjust thermostat setting
It’s one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control.
“A programmable or smart thermostat can actually lower cooling and heating bills by as much as ten percent a year. Most smart thermostats use wifi and allow you to control your central air and heat with your smartphone,” said Consumer Reports Editor Dan Wroclawski.
Some even learn your routine–when you’re home and when you’re away–along with your temperature preferences to customize your cooling and heating schedule.
Consumer Reports recommends the Honeywell Home T9 Thermostat. It includes a sensor to measure temperature and humidity
2. Use energy-efficient fans
Some simple changes around your home can also help lower your bill, like keeping your blinds and shades closed during the day to keep the sun from heating up the house!
Ceiling fans have been popular for generations and for good reason. They can actually help to save money!
“Ceiling fans not only cost very little to run, but when used with your air conditioning, you can actually raise your thermostat by about four degrees and feel just as cool,” said Wroclawski.
If you’re buying one, fans with the Energy Star label are 60-percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units.
Take time to plug cracks around windows and doors and repair any leaky AC ductwork to make sure your cool air isn’t leaking out.
3. Avoid using oven
And try not to use your oven! Along with using energy, it also heats up the kitchen.
If you really need to bake, try to use a Consumer Reports top-rated toaster oven or air fryer.
They’re an affordable, money-saving option and heat up more quickly.
Even better, get outside and grill!
If you decide to add a smart or programmable thermostat to your house, Consumer Reports suggests you check with your utility company to see whether it offers any incentives or even a free thermostat.