average summer electrical billWith air conditioning installed in over 90 percent of American households, it’s no surprise electricity prices spike during summer. Electricity prices are determined by three factors: the cost to produce it, the cost to deliver it, and the rate at which households consume it. Rising temperatures cause an increase in air conditioning use, which requires the state to activate more generators to meet the rising demand for electricity. Because generators are expensive to operate, the average summer electrical bill increases substantially from May-September, especially in the Southwest and along the Gulf Coast.

But higher prices don’t always mean higher costs. Creating an efficient household keeps energy bills under control, allowing you to save money even as demand intensifies. For concerned homeowners, here are a few tips to help you lower electricity consumption while staying cool and comfortable indoors.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Raising the setting on your thermostat reduces the strain on your air conditioning. According to the Department of Energy, setting the temperature to 78°F will produce the greatest savings without making your home too warm. You don’t want to turn your house into a freezer, it should be just cool enough so you can relax in seasonal clothing. Experts also recommend raising the temperature to 85°F when you leave. This not only saves energy, but also reduces the time necessary to cool your house again when you return.

Use Fans

Ceiling and tabletop fans are inexpensive and one of the most cost-effective ways to save money. By circulating air, they help draw heat from exposed skin, lowering your body temperature at a fraction of the cost of your air conditioner. Installing a fan helps you remain comfortable even when the thermostat is set higher than usual, especially in the evening, when electricity is most expensive.

Seal Drafts

Air leaks increase the workload on your AC system. Unless properly sealed, they allow cold air to escape through gaps in your windows and doors, forcing your AC to run longer and harder to maintain a consistent temperature. Weatherstipping will prevent cold air from seeping out from under your doors, while a thin layer of caulk will plug up cracked window frames.

Close Curtains and Blinds

Covering your windows reduces heat gain, which takes some of the strain off your air conditioner, thereby lowering your energy bills. Shaded windows generally don’t let in much heat, but any window exposed to direct sunlight should be covered up with blinds, curtains, or shades to help keep your home cooler.

Open Your Windows

Natural ventilation is one of the best and least expensive ways to cool your home. Opening your windows early in the morning lets in cold air while opening them again in the evening dispels any heat that might have built up inside your home over the course of the day.

Limit Use of Heat-Generating Appliances

Running your oven, stove, dryer, or dishwasher can significantly raise the temperature inside your home. Avoid using them during the hottest part of the day (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). If you can, cook outside. Limiting the use of appliances to early morning or late evening (after 9 p.m.) not only cuts cooling costs, it also lets you take advantage of off-peak pricing ‒ when utility rates are lowest.

Service Your Air Conditioner

Cooling systems require regular maintenance to function effectively. As they wear down or get clogged with dirt and dust, cooling your home becomes more difficult and winds up consuming more electricity. Hire an HVAC technician to inspect your unit at least once a year. They’ll check the coolant levels, inspect the fan, lubricate the motor, and replace damaged components, in order to ensure your AC runs as smoothly as possible.

Save Money on Repairs with Agway EnergyGuardTM

The main reason your average summer electrical bill is so high is because you rely on your air conditioner. It’s one of the hardest working devices in your home, so make sure it’s protected. Air conditioners receive a lot of wear and tear over the course of a summer. Home insurance doesn’t cover this type of damage, but our Agway EnergyGuardTM Program does.

EnergyGuardTM covers your heating, cooling, and electrical systems.* When the need for repair occurs, our customers don’t waste time searching for a qualified repairman. As soon as you contact us, we reach out to our network of licensed contractors and send the first available one straight to your door. There are no service fees or deductibles either. We cover the expenses of the visit and covered parts. Sign up and start enjoying the benefits of EnergyGuardTM today!

* Coverage depends on the commodity purchased.