Summer Saving: Saving on Energy, Part 1

In my household, the majority of our utilities budget goes toward energy… mostly because we live in Texas and it’s hot and air conditioning is necessary and expensive.  Because of this, I am always seeking out new ways to save on our energy bill.  By changing just a few things, we have been able to cut our electric bill quite a bit.  My philosophy is to make small changes to cut the bill without making my family suffer (not using a/c when it’s 100+ degrees and humid really isn’t an option).

I doubt any of my thoughts on this subject are earth shattering, but I figured I would share some of the things we have been doing over the years that have helped us to save on energy.

1.  Raise the temperature in the house.  Even a couple degrees can make a big diference.  Our house temperature is currently kept at 76 degrees and although it’s taken us a few weeks to get used to the warmer temperature (we keep it chilly in the winter), we are now very comfortable.

2. Use Ceiling fans to keep the air moving in the warmer temperature.  A ceiling fan (or oscillating fan, or whatever other fan) uses wayyyy less energy than an air conditioning unit.  For us, this has been the key to feeling comfortable in a 76 degree house.

3a. Turn off the lights whenever possible.  Our house is bright, even with the blinds shut.  We mostly utilize the natural light, and only keep 1 or 2 lamps on in the living room during the day.   Any time we leave a room, we make sure to turn off lights.

3b. Use fluorescent bulbs.  These last longer (I’ve used fluorescent bulbs for 8 years and have never replaced a single one) and they also use less energy.

4. Keep the blinds and other window treatments closed.  Even though I just talked about utilizing natural light, we don’t let the excess heat come in through the windows by opening blinds and curtains.

*The next tips may cost a little bit of money as an initial investment, but will save you money in the long run*

5. Invest in thermal/light blocking curtains.  I personally wouldn’t suggest doing this for every room in your house.  Think about where the sun shines during the warmest part of the day.  If your house is in the shade for the majority of the day, it may not even be worth it for your family.  But in our house, during the late afternoon, the sun comes in our son’s nursery and heats it up quite a bit.  By hanging thermal/light blocking curtains, we are able to keep the temperature down, which then keeps the a/c unit from kicking on too frequently.

6.  Make sure all windows and doors are properly sealed.  We are still working on this at our house.  In our kitchen in particular, several windows don’t properly seal, and you can actually feel the warm air coming in at those places.  We also have 2 doors to the outside in our kitchen and neither one seals properly (the joys of owning a 71 year old home).  My plan is to get some weather stripping for the doors until we can budget for replacing them with properly fitting steel entry doors.

By doing these things, we have managed to keep our electric bill under $100 for the 8 months that we have lived in this house.  We live in a 1400 square foot home and our average bill since moving here has been $78.26.  That is totally worth it!!

If you have other tips for saving on lighting and cooling, share in the comments below!!   

Stay tuned for part 2 on Thursday, Saving Money on Energy with your appliances!!

7 thoughts on “Summer Saving: Saving on Energy, Part 1

    • That’s true! We went out of town a few weeks ago and the house we stayed at had those kinds of blankets in the window. The room was nice and cool (and dark)! And when I moved the blanket to let light in, it was amazing the amount of heat that it was keeping at bay!!

  1. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    Good post on how to save on energy this summer, especially since it was reported on the national news this week that across the nation the air conditioner draws the most electricity in our homes; the television comes in second.

    • I believe it!! I wish we lived in a climate that we could do windows all summer, but unfortunately that isn’t the case! Thanks for the reblog, and sorry for the delayed response 🙂

  2. Your low energy bill is impressive for an older home in a hot city. The only other tip I can think of off the top of my head is to do some landscaping outside. Planting trees around the perimeter of your home will help keep it cool in the summer by providing shade. But this isn’t an easy, instant fix! It will take a few years for your trees to grow. But it works. My home is very cool thanks to a huge oak in the yard.

    • Yes! We actually have two huge trees that shade the front and back of the house. But in the afternoons, one side of the house gets pretty warm, and I am hoping to one day plant a tree on that side! Thanks for the idea! And I am looking forward to reading more from your wonderful blog 🙂

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