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It can get hot in the city during the summer. Follow these 5 easy tips to save yourself some grief with the utility bills.
Though a New York summer typically makes a gentle entrance, it can unleash its fury in July and August. How do you keep your utility bills reasonable when the weather gets extreme? After all, New York has recently become the third highest city on Bankrate’s top 10 most expensive utility bills list.
Image by TheRem /Flickr
Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, turn on a fan when you’re in the room. The “chill effect” from fans can make your home feel 6-7 degrees cooler. You can also install Energy Star ceiling fans for extra money-saving power.
When you use fans as cooling support, you can program your home’s temperature to be a few degrees higher than what you’d normally set. For example, if you set your thermostat to 78, you can save up to 18 percent in utilities compared to running the air conditioner at 72 degrees.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Traditional thermostats are static and inflexible. Smart thermostats are not only greener but also cost-effective. They cool your home more efficiently when you’re around and then switch to a higher temperature when you’re out of the house.
According to Thermostat Center, 50 percent of your utility costs are attributed to heating or cooling your home. When you switch to a programmable thermostat, you can save between 15 to 20 percent on your temperature control costs. So stop forgetting to set the thermostat to 80 every time you leave the house this summer. Get a programmable thermostat that’ll take care of the details without fail.
What’s more, programmable thermostats take the guesswork out of switching from heating to cooling in transitional seasons, too.
Block the Sun
When you go out for the day, keep the sun out to make it cooler. Bankrate affirms that room darkening shades can knock down heat accumulation by 45 percent.
Solar screens, which function as both a sun shield and bug screen, are even better. The screens can deflect 70 percent of the sun’s rays before they even enter your house.
If you don’t have the time or means to put up solar screens, consider installing window films. These transparent yet metallic sheets function similarly to solar screens and help keep the heat out. The only drawback is that your windows must be fully shut for them to work properly.
Limit Stove Use
Using the oven during the heat of summer can make your home sweltering! Instead, try quick skillet recipes and crock pot cooking. Cooking at night can also keep the temperatures from climbing indoors. Baking during the day is another way to make your home uncomfortably hot, so try to limit the brownies and cupcakes to cooler seasons.
Stay on Top of Maintenance
If you’re renting, most general air conditioner maintenance is out of your hands. Homeowners, however, should schedule seasonal cooling system checkups to make sure everything’s running smoothly. A properly functioning system will use less energy to cool your home.
Both homeowners and renters can also change air conditioner filters regularly to make the system run the most efficiently. In fact, a monthly filter change results in using 5 to 15 percent less energy.
Every small change you make will result in a lower utility bill and a smaller carbon footprint. Try using these tips to make your home in NYC comfortable this summer without breaking the bank.