We all know what summer and winter typically mean – higher costs and higher bills. But this doesn’t have to be always true. Summer energy consumption tends to be higher than months with lower temperatures like spring or fall because cooling down your home means your AC must work harder and spend more electricity. But you don’t have to break the bank to beat the heat.
Energy demand usually increases during the summer months. Typically, what we see is that, as the temperatures get up and get hotter, people go from having fans on and windows open to cracking up their air conditioning systems. So, with more heat and humidity, kids out from school & a higher supply-demand balance, costs are striking.
Let´s understand why we’re getting higher bills & how to reduce your summer energy consumption.
Summer energy supply-demand balance
In summer, energy consumption increases; this excessive energy use usually means you’ll have to pay a larger bill at home. To put it another way, if everyone uses more electricity, the price per kWh goes up. But why? This has to do with the type of power plants that are utilized to generate electricity. In general, when the energy demand is low, baseload facilities are used to generate electricity. These baseload plants are generally nuclear or coal-fired turbines, which can generate large amounts of electricity.
On the other hand, when the demand is too high, the grid gets its stability from powerplants like peak load plants are put in use. Generally, since they only work occasionally, they usually are put on to offer additional energy above the baseload — this is known as peak load. When they are run, the price per kWh tends to increase, increasing the final energy consumer bill.
This short video from The Audiopedia explains more in-depth what are peak loads and baseloads.
Ps. We have a full article explaining your electricity bill in case this doesn’t sound familiar.
Now you understand how the energy pricing work and why summer energy tends to be relatively higher. See, being mindful of summer energy consumption is important, especially for your energy bill.
Here are some simple tricks that will keep you cool & will keep your wallet full.
Did you know that “In the Annual Energy Outlook 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2020, electricity use for cooling the interior of buildings (space cooling) by the U.S. residential and commercial sectors was about 392 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), which was equal to about 10% of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2020.” If we look only into the numbers of residential energy use, we see that about 16% of the electricity that was used was utilized for home cooling, making it around 6% of total consumption.
1. Turn into a fan of fans
Ceiling fans allow you to set your AC to roughly 4°F warmer, compensating for a higher thermostat. This wind chill effect will not only keep you warm but will also help you save money. Please remember to switch them off while leaving the room; they’re designed to cool individuals, not rooms.
2. Adjust your thermostat
Having your thermostat set to 78°F or the highest comfortable temperature is a must. Every degree below 78 might increase your cost by as much as 3%. So, if we put it in numbers, you might have already boosted your bill by 18% just by turning down the A/C to 72°F. If you leave your place, you can set it up at an 85°F temperature. It won’t take long to back to the regular once you come back.
Try having a programmable thermostat; they’re not that pricey and can save you lots of money in the short term. These devices learn from your habits and will help you maximize your savings. Its location influences your thermostat’s functionality and efficiency. To avoid “ghost readings” or wasteful furnace or air conditioner cycles, read the manufacturer’s installation instructions. A thermostat must be installed on an inside wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows to function correctly.
3. Close windows, blinds & shade your home
Like insulating your home, closing blinds & shading your home can be of good help to lower your home’s temperature. On hot summer days, keeping heated air out is essential for remaining cool. Check for cracks around the edges of windows and doors and fix them with caulk or weatherstripping. This is really important to keep your summer energy consumption low.
4. Choose a fixed-rate energy plan
Having a fixed-rate plan can not only help you keep your summer energy consumption down in summer but all year-round. We have seen how, in summer, energy consumption tends to be higher, needing more demand from those peak-load plants. And, generally, the most typical method of paying for power is through a variable-rate energy plan. If you live in a deregulated energy market, you have the option of switching to a fixed-rate energy provider. You’ll be able to lock in a rate in the spring, fall, or winter and pay it for the entire summer.
Variable-rate plans allow rates to climb and fall in response to supply and demand, which is often greater in the summer — you already know why –. With set rates, you shouldn’t have to pay anything out of the blue.
Ps. We also have a full article about variable vs. fixed rates if you want to learn more about it!
5. Stick to cold water for your laundry
Did you know that 75 to 90% of the energy used by your washer goes to warming up the water? Switching to cold water might be a good idea when you’re on a low budget. It will also prevent your clothes from shrinking and fading. This can help cold water reduce wrinkles, which saves energy costs (and time) associated with ironing.
6. Eat out
Another fun idea to keep your summer energy consumption down is to dine out. We don’t mean to go to a fancy restaurant, but you can be grilling a delicious meal on the bbq. Staying out of the kitchen during the summer can help you save money on your energy bill. The temperature can be raised by ten degrees by using kitchen appliances. Not only will you save energy by turning off those appliances, but you’ll also save money on air conditioning to keep your house cool.
Ps. You can check 5 more tips to check up on your summer energy consumption here!
If you want to share other summer energy tips with us to reduce your energy consumption, share them with us in the comment box below! At Power Choice Now, we want you to embrace your power and choose to have the best service for less money. While also making conscious decisions about your energy consumption.
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