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Easy Ways to Reduce Summer Electric Bills

By
Real Estate Agent with Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 SA5376460000

Now that summer temperatures are heating up,  so are our electric bills.  Some may have increases that mimic a luxury car payment - whew!  BUT, there are ways to minimize those electric bills without breaking the bank.  Before you buy solar panels, listen up.  Small changes can make big impacts, so start small.

 

Electric companies may offer an on or off peak power plan; meaning they'll charge you less for using power during "off peak" times.  On peak is a higher per kilowatt charge;  you may have a flat fee that you pay monthly that is based on an analysis of your annual energy usage.  Either way, analyze your electric bill first to understand when you are using the most electricity.   How you use  energy dictates what you  pay every month.  Plan to use as much power during off peak times as possible. 

 

There are several ways to lower an electric bill during hot summer months without incurring the replacement cost of an expensive HVAC or AC split system.   Understanding and being aware of when you use the biggest energy guzzling appliances will help you to change your habits and be aware of the electricity you're using.  You may not think of these, but they are the biggest energy users in your home. 

  • HVAC (AC or Furnace)
  • Water heater
  • Washer and Dryer
  • Pool Pump
  • Refrigerator

 

We all like air conditioners during hot summer months.  But did you know that you can "super cool" your home during off peak hours?  Two to three hours before your on peak time starts, turn your AC to a cooler temp and prepare to throw on a jacket.  Then during off peak times you can turn your AC off to take advantage of a cooler home and not use higher cost electricity.   This tip came from Arizona Public Service, one of the main electric providers in Arizona.   Make sure to service these in the summer and winter to extend the life and efficiency of the units.  Studies show this saves energy!    Also make sure to replace air filters frequently.  Don't use the least expensive type as they allow dirt and allergens into your AC unit.  Rather review labeling to use a MERV 5 or lower to capture that dust and replace these monthly during the summer or winter months, if you're in a cold climate.

 

Timers can be added to water heaters to turn them off during daytime hours so you're not heating water during the day when no one is home or the need for hot water is lowest.  If you are replacing a water heater, consider a heat pump water heater.  This water heater will remove hot air from a room to heat the water and exhaust cooler air.  The compressor can be placed in a different room from the water tank.  These have been shown to be more energy efficient than tankless water heaters.

 

Don't use both the washer and dryer simultaneously but do use them separately during off peak times.  Running both can have the effect of raising the single kilowatt usage to raise an entire electric bill, but check with your utility provider.  Also, turn on an exhaust fan and close the door to the laundry room to vent hot air and to keep a thermostat from falsely determining that the entire home needs more air conditioning.  

 

Make sure that pool pumps are running during an off peak time as well.  When replacing pool pumps, consider a variable speed pool pump to use less energy.  But make sure that the pipes will allow adequate water flow for this type of pool pump.  

 

Obviously, your refrigerator is on 24/7, but did you know that an empty refrigerator works harder to keep fewer contents cool than a full refrigerator?  When your refrigerator looks a bit empty, fill it with water bottles or bottles of anything that takes up space.  

 

Replace burned out electric bulbs with LED's.  Make sure they have authentic Energy Star labels on the packaging and look for the different levels of brightness versus the space where the bulb will be placed, eg. you might not want a blue- white bulb in your living room where that level of brightness is eye popping!  

 

After a year of working to reduce your electric bill, check your year over year consumption to see if your modifications worked.  Contact your electric company to ask if your average monthly bill can be reduced due to lower electricity usage.  

 

Lastly, if you want to take your home to the next level of energy and water savings, consider getting an energy audit, aka Home Energy Assessment.  An audit will show you how "leaky"  your home is and how efficient the above components are working. Check out the video below to understand the testing process. 

 

When buying or selling a home, consider using a realtor who understands all of these concepts.  Agents with this knowledge and training can market and potentially sell your home for more money.  

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Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I appreciate your energy reducing tips; everyone wants to save money on those high utility bills.

I had a new HVAC system installed in the spring and my energy consumption is down significantly compared to last summer. It's exciting to see that lower number. :)

 

Jun 20, 2024 11:46 AM
Mike McCann Nebraska Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm & Commercial Property For Sale 308-627-3700

Hi Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ 

We replaced our 20 year old HVAC system as it was junk last year. 

Our electric bills are way lower after a year with the new system and way quieter. 

Closing the blinds to the sun and keeping doors shut and excess things closed helps.  We do our laundry in the mornings when it is cooler.  But I have to be honest,,,I do these things not to save money...but because I like it very cool in the house and I work here...so most of the lights throughout the house are modern and not the old filament style that get hot.  Thank you for sharing your tips!  Have a great rest of your week! Mike

Jun 20, 2024 12:13 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Debra Leisek Okay - some tips for you! Air sealing is critical to keep out cold air in the winter, but also keep cool air in during hot months. You're also in a more humid climate so indoor air quality is important as well if there's no AC on during summer months.  There is not air being exchanged to bring in fresh air.  An energy audit is your first priority to determine how leaky your house is and also look for ways to add more fresh air.  That element was just added to BPI certified guys that do energy audits.   Look for someone with credible references.  Make sure to watch the video above.  An energy auditor will show you the easiest fixes all the way to replacing furnaces, etc.  

Jun 20, 2024 12:57 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very smart Dorie Dillard Austin TX !  Utilitizing ways to reduce energy bills in the laundry room is awesome.  My favorite thing to do in the summer is to air dry clothes.  With lower humidity levels in AZ, I can dry clothes really fast simply by hanging them, or laying them on top of the dryer.  Once I hung a pair of jeans outside, in the shade of my patio, and those jeans dried in 1 1/2 hours, even though they were in my dryer for 5 minutes!   

Jun 20, 2024 12:59 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very smart Ben DeHaven !  That's my next replacement for a 12 year old water heater.  The compressor for HP water heater can also dehumidify air and can be separated from the water heater, putting it in another room.  An agent in Georgia did that and it worked well.  In AZ, our water heaters are in our garages. You can imagine how hot a garage gets here in the summer.  My EV is in that hot garage and the fan (thermal management system) for the EV kicks on repeatedly to cool the battery while the car is parked.  When I swap out the water heater, which sits 8 feet in front of the EV, the compressor will blow cool air while I am in the shower.  It will have a double effect for me cooling the garage and my car while heating water.  My only dilemma is taking a shower to best utilitize cool air?  Do I take a shower in the hot afternoon? LOL!  Thank you for your comments!

Jun 20, 2024 01:03 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Leanne Smith !  Good for you.   Using off-peak hours to keep those bills down is a great objective in retirement as well.  That's why my house is net zero and I don't buy gas.  Those 2 items alone, thanks to the technology I added to my house, will help me save $$ i retirement.  

Jun 20, 2024 01:04 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent thoughts Dorte Engel !  Maryland has a lot going on in Sustainability.  Your government is pro energy saving and right behind Arizona in number of Energy Star homes per capita!  Good for Maryland! 

Jun 20, 2024 01:05 PM
Dorte Engel

Really?? I did not know that. I know you have much better net-metering. Our utilities only square once a year, but better than nothing, right?

Jun 20, 2024 01:13 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You see it first hand Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty !  Congratulations on saving $$ with a new HVAC!  That energy savings will most likely cover the previous higher bills in about 7 years OR LESS!  That was the calculation when I installed my new HVAC in 2015.  So it already paid for itself.  Another tip for you - have someone test your ducts to see if they are leaking air.  My 1979 rigid ducts were leaking 24%!  I had them sealed and my bill dropped significantly.  Thank you for commenting!

Jun 20, 2024 01:07 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Good for you Mike!  I do the same for those same reasons as well.  Thank you for commenting - have a great rest of your week!

Jun 20, 2024 01:08 PM
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
35 Years of Real Estate Experience!

Great tips. I wouldn't have thought of closing the laundry room door in order to keep the thermostat happy.

Jun 20, 2024 02:48 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Hi Jan - great tips!  One I hadn't thought of is the empty refrigerator.  Ours has been a bit empty at times and I'm going to let G know about putting water bottles etc in there at those times. We need all the help we can here in PHX as we're heading into our hot months.  Thanks!

Jun 20, 2024 04:58 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

hello Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ    We have energy ratings on homes and homes are being built to certain standards in order to get interest rate reductions and other perks from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. A 5 star plus energy rating could reduce the interest rate 1% and save a bunch in heating costs! Win Win!

They started these programs in 1992 here in Alaska along with low interest loans to do weather proofing and ventilation. If people couldn't afford the improvements, AHFC subsidized or completely paid for the improvements. AHFC has made a big difference up here with the programs and loans they offer

Jun 21, 2024 12:28 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Most people wouldn't either Lisa Friedman !  When trained as a GREEN Designee, you pick up those tips and tricks. It's also a way to set yourself apart and be a resource for your clients!  Thank you for commenting!

Jun 21, 2024 01:05 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

For sure Anna "Banana" Kruchten !  Tell G to put larger bottles of things you already have in the house, too if you don't want to buy water bottles.  I keep mine jam packed to keep that volume going.  Since I eat a lot of salads this time of year, my fridge is emptier than during the winter months.  Hope to see you soon!

Jun 21, 2024 01:09 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That's great Debra Leisek !  Glad to hear that your government and good people of AK help out your neighbors with weatherization.  You definitely need that in your climate!  Thank you for sharing. Have a great weekend!

Jun 21, 2024 01:10 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jan:

These are excellent tips. Clearly there are many things that we can do to lower our electric bills and everyone can do something.

We are pretty careful about minimizing our electrical usage during peak hours as much as we can. It DOES make a difference.

Jeff

Jun 21, 2024 01:14 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Jeff Dowler, CRS !  I'm sure you guys are sensitive to energy bills with your weather. I see you guys get a bit of rain and wind, 2 different types of weather expectations.  Wind can do a lot of damage and challenge structures, driving rain sideways which can create leaks where you didn't think you had any!  Uniquely California is having your own energy codes, unlike other states.  

Good for you for practicing what you can for your own beneift.  Not everyone thinks that way!  Thank you for commenting!

Jun 21, 2024 01:19 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I agree .There are a lot of companies that are switching from energy estimates to actual energy usage, which I think is actually more ethical.

Jun 21, 2024 09:56 PM
Doug Rogers
RE/MAX Coastal Properties - Destin, FL
Your Real Estate Resource!

Great advice. And I tell folks to have reasonable expectations. If it's 110 degrees expecting the HVAC to maintain 68 degrees is a challenge 

Jun 24, 2024 09:46 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very true Doug Rogers !  BTW, I was just in Destin 2 years ago next month; and used to go there frequently when I lived there in Huntsville.  A wonderful city.  

It's much easier to adjust habits to reduce energy consumption rather than to adjust a thermostat when it's 100+ outside!  Thank you for commenting!

Jun 24, 2024 10:49 AM