Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to save moneyIt’s no secret that summer in the South can be downright brutal – on people, on pets and on your utility bills. But there are some simple and cost-effective (in some cases FREE) measures you can take to reduce your utility bills and increase your comfort. Here are a few ideas courtesy of Union Power Cooperative and Energy United.

  1. Get enlightened. Replacing just five standard incandescent light bulbs with five compact fluorescent light bulbs saves an average of $70 a year.
  2.  Stay cool. Run appliances like dishwashers and dryers late in the evening to keep the heat they generate from impacting your family’s comfort.
  3.  Unplug. Some electric devices, like TVs, DVDs and stereos consume energy when they are plugged in – even when they are turned off. These phantom loads comprise up to a whopping 75% of the energy consumed by these devices each year. To save money, plug them into a power strip and turn it off when they are not in use.
  4.  Chill Out. Use cold water to wash your clothes. By some estimates, 90% of the energy used while washing clothes goes to heat the water, so this small change can make a major difference – particularly when it’s multiplied by 392, which is the average number of laundry loads a typical U.S. household does in one year.
  5.  Protect Your Privacy. Closing the blinds has multiple benefits in summer. First, it keeps the sun out of your house, which reduces the burden on your HVAC system and keeps intense UV rays from fading furnishings. It also protects your privacy at a time of year when more people are out and about.
  6.  Clear the Air. One of the quickest and easiest ways to ensure that your current HVAC system is working at peak efficiency is to change your filters. The recommendation is at least once a month during peak summer usage.
  7.  Turn it down! It takes a lot of energy to heat the water you use in your home, and most water heaters are set at 140 degrees. By reducing that to 120 degrees, you’ll notice a real savings – and possibly reduce the chance of hot water burns for children or elderly residents.

For more great ways to slash your utility bills this summer, visit TogetherWeSave.com.