Everyone's worried about energy costs. Start planning now, so that you'll save on electricity all summer long.
Last summer, we replaced most of our light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, and noticed a lower bill the first month. We found 'free with rebate' coupons for most of them.
Afternoon sun was shining directly ON the outdoor AC unit, making it run constantly. We made a shade off to the side with a small tarp attached to some homemade framework. Now it turned off for long periods. Total cost, under $20.
The sun's heat built up between the window and blinds and rose into the rooms on the south side of our house. We bought a few roll-up 'matchstick type' blinds and hung them outside windows to block the sun from HITTING the glass, and now the rooms stayed much cooler. Easy to install, just two hooks above each window. Cost was about $4 per blind on sale... but our electric bill dropped about $50 that month from the previous year.
Did you know that many of your household appliances use electricity even when they are turned OFF? Some gadgets, especially those around the computer or TV with 'brick' style transformer plugs, stay a little warm all the time. We've added a power strip to areas with things rarely used during the daytime or after bedtime. I turn off one power switch every morning or night rather than unplug everything. A plain power strip can be found for as little as $4, often 50 cents at yard sales. (Don't forget, your computer's surge protector bar also has an 'off' switch!)
On TV recently, they stated that up to 40% of some appliances energy costs are from when it's turned off but still plugged in, so imagine that amount multiplied by maybe 10 or 20 items, wow...
All of these things we're still using and our bills have gone down with each addition.
There are nicer looking, more expensive solutions to all the problem areas I've mentioned, but these are quick and inexpensive things you can do easily and expect to see results your very first electric bill.
Stay cool AND frugal everybody!
Source: These ideas were from bits and pieces of things we'd learned over the years, and used when in desperation over high bills. You just do what you have to do!
By Mary from Mountain Pine, AR