Retired adults often find themselves working hard to live on the fixed income that they receive from their savings, pension, and social security checks each month. Many times, their home's ever-changing utility expenses can be a challenge to keep up with – especially the energy bill.
Typically, the spring and fall seasons have lower energy costs than the summer and winter. Many find themselves needing to use their air conditioning more frequently in the summer, which drives energy costs up to nearly unaffordable levels.
Oftentimes, seniors find themselves raising the temperature in their homes to keep their cooling costs affordable on the summer's hottest days. Thankfully, there is no need to risk overheating yourself to save some money! There are several ways to keep your summer energy bills affordable without sacrificing your comfort to do so.
So how can you beat the heat and reduce your summer energy expenses this season? The following are 10 great tips to help control your energy costs in your own home this summer.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Simply being mindful of when your system is running can result in a massive energy savings. Installing a programmable thermostat help you do just that, by allowing you to adjust temperatures and settings based on when you will or will not be home. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer, which most adults find to be an acceptable temperature for themselves and their pets.
Keep Blinds Closed Throughout the Day
The more you can close your blinds to block the sunlight during the daytime hours, the cooler your home will remain throughout the day. Approximately 75% of the sunlight that comes through the windows of your home generates heat. This means it takes more energy to cool your home back down, and raises your energy bill to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Being mindful of the many benefits natural sunlight has on your mental and physical health, so we still recommend enjoying the sun when possible!
Use Fans Often
The U.S. Department of Energy states that in rooms where there is a fan, you can increase the temperature on your thermostat by up to 4 degrees without feeling a change in heat in the home. Fans with an "Energy Star" label are up to 20% more effective than fans that don't have the same tag.
Give Your Outdoor Unit A Cleaning
Cleaning the coils on your outdoor air conditioning unit can help keep your air conditioner running more effectively while using less energy. Sometimes you may need to have your AC unit tuned annually to clean things like bugs or grass clippings. An annual tune-up of your HVAC system can help you decrease those energy expenses throughout the summer.
Use Major Appliances Wisely
Run your major appliances wisely. Do full loads of laundry and consider hanging clothes rather than using the dryer for every load of laundry. Wash clothes in cold water when possible. Unplug large electronics you only use occasionally to help save additional money.
Ensure Your Windows and Doors are Well-Sealed
Keeping your doors and windows well-sealed can help reduce heat and keep the cool air in. Ensuring your home is not getting drafts can help cut your summer energy bills down by up to 10%.
Lower the Temperature of the Water Heater
The less heat your water heater uses, the more you save on your energy bill. There is no good reason to keep your water heater above 115 or 120 degrees as you will rarely (if ever) need water to be any hotter. Just like with an HVAC system, it’s important to frequently tune-up your system, ensuring the heating element works properly. Keeping this appliance in top shape will result in continued savings on your energy bill.
Check Your Insulation
Your home should have enough insulation to keep it at a reasonable temperature throughout the year. If the home is not properly insulated, then you will spend more energy and money to keep your home cool. This is especially true in older houses, pumping to keep the space cool on the hottest days. If you are still maintaining a house, we recommend having a professional run diagnostics and assess exactly how to best insulate your home.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
Using energy-efficient appliances can help you save money over time as these appliances require less energy. Gradually, your investment in energy-efficient appliances helps both the environment and your pocketbook.
The above 9 simple and effective tips will help you save money on your summer energy bills while still owning a home. You don't have to sacrifice the comforts of daily life or your lifestyle to save money and keep your energy bill affordable during the year's hottest months. Small changes can make a big difference.
So what’s the 10th tip to help you save money on energy?
Live at an Integrated Community
Our residents are known to report an average savings of anywhere from $65 to $150 per month on their electric bill, compared to the small to mid-size house they moved from. That’s up to an $1,800 annual savings on energy expenses alone! When the labor and expenses of home ownership and upkeep are no longer a desire nor option, Integrated Senior Lifestyles makes the job of reducing your utility costs easier than ever. Our trained service technicians within each facility perform frequent checks on all systems to ensure a well-ventilated and properly maintained community for our residents.
Unlike many all-inclusive retirement options, which requires its residents to pay allocated fees not only for their home but common areas as well, our residents pay only for the energy used within their own apartment home or villa, and we cover the rest.
This allows you the opportunity to save money, while giving you more time to enjoy retirement and no time to concern yourself with home upkeep and the other daunting tasks that home ownership requires.
Feel free to contact us for more information on Integrated’s many services and levels of care, and learn how we can continue to provide you with savings and support on your retirement journey!