Fig's Series on Lowering Your Electric Bill: Part 4 of 5
Posted on: 20 July 2017
Summer’s here, and with it comes sun, heat, and of course, high electricity bills. But they don’t always have to be quite so high! Fig has come up with a 5 part series of practical tips to help lower your electric bill.
- 4 Ways to Save Electricity at Home
- Housekeeping Hacks to Lower Your Electric Bill
- 4 Cheaper Alternatives to Air Conditioning
- How to Use Your Window Cooling Unit Efficiently
- Easy Ways to Make Your Air Conditioner More Efficient
Natural light and a view outside - what’s not to like? However, windows are the single biggest way for air to escape your house and outside air to come in. In addition, sunlight shining into your home is a big contributor of heat. In the summer, this means that minding your windows can be one of the most energy-saving - and money-saving - things you can do. Here are some tips on how some easy work on your windows can help you keep cool and save big on summer utility bills.
1. Close Your Curtains
A simple way to reduce the heat coming in to your home without having to do any sort of DIY work is to close your curtains. Sunlight directly warms everything in your house, and in addition having curtains closed creates a further barrier between the rest of your home and the outside. It won’t plug air leaks, but it will slow down how fast cool air leaks out of your home.
2. Seal Your Windows
In a previous post we recommended that you regularly open your windows at night and close them during the day to take advantage of lower air temperatures at night. However, in some of the most heavily populated parts of Texas this hardly helps - residents of Houston and Dallas will well remember nights where it’s 80% humidity and 75 degrees outside. It’s no wonder that so many people run their air conditioners at night.
If you run your air conditioner at night, or even if you don’t want to open your windows on a regular basis, there is another solution. At most hardware stores, you can buy kits or materials to seal your windows. As we mentioned earlier in the post, air exchange is a major way in which cold air from inside your house can get out, and how hot air can get in. It turns out that with a little bit of DIY work and double-sided tape, you can stick a sheet of clear vinyl on the inside of your window frame to seal it against air exchange.
The first summer that I sealed my windows, I was very surprised at the difference it made. My single overworked window air conditioner suddenly seemed much more powerful, and my electricity bills went down drastically, about $20 a month! I kept the sealant sheet on for the whole summer, and still regularly seal my windows during the summer. Best of all, sealant kits only cost a few dollars per window, so this is one investment that pays off very quickly.
3. DIY Window Tinting
Windows aren’t just ways to let in hot air - they also let in light and brighten the atmosphere of wherever you live, and even though we did recommend closing curtains before, it does tend to make the indoors a bit depressing. However, there is a way to let in light without much of the heating effect.
Many hardware stores sell peel-and-cling heat control film that can be stuck onto windows. These give your windows an artificial tint, letting in light at a lower intensity and giving you all the benefits of a bright, airy atmosphere without the heat of the sun. This too, is a relatively inexpensive investment, though a bit more than sealing your windows. On the other hand, they last longer, and can even have decorative designs on them.