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As summer approaches, electric bills across the country are beginning to rise as more families start cranking up their air conditioners. Soon, students will be spending a lot more time at home while on vacation, so those energy costs will rise even further. If you’re wondering how to save money on your electric bill this summer, here are five tips to help you cut those costs.

1. Stop Wasting Electricity

The best place to start cutting down your power costs — with no investment or hassle on your part — is to look for ways to stop wasting electricity. Turn off lights and fans when leaving a room or leaving the house. Set your lamp or television on a timer if you tend to fall asleep without shutting them off every night. Turn off power strips when not in use to reduce phantom loads. Lower your water heater thermostat or raise your refrigerator thermostat just a touch to save a few bucks around the clock.

2. Raise the AC Thermostat Just a Little

You can also raise your air conditioner’s thermostat by one or two degrees to save money on your electric bill. If you still feel a little warm while at home, you can dress in cooler clothing such as shorts or a tank top instead of pants and long sleeves. Another way to manipulate your AC system is to block off vents in rooms that are not used very often. So if you have a guest bedroom that nobody is using this summer, close the AC vent or block it completely by inserting a sheet of plastic behind the vent to block the air. That will push more cold air to the rest of the house without using more electricity. Just be sure to keep the door to that unused room closed or you’ll defeat the whole purpose.

3. Seal Your Doors and Windows

Another great way to save money on your electric bill is to seal off your doors and windows with some new weatherstripping. Over time, that little strip of rubber can wear down and allow cold air from inside your home to escape. This forces your AC to keep running longer and keep burning more electricity.

You can buy a roll of weatherstripping at your local hardware store for a few bucks. After removing the old strip, just peel off the backing on the new one and stick it along the edge of your window or door. Be sure to measure the length that you’ll need and precut the stripping to avoid any gaps or overlap.

4. Switch to LEDs or CFL Light Bulbs

For several years now, you’ve probably heard home experts preaching the benefits of CFL bulbs and how they can last forever while reducing your electric bill. Well, now LED lights are coming along that are even cheaper and more efficient than those CFLs. And LED bulbs stay cool even when they’ve been running for hours on end, so they present less of a fire hazard. These bulbs use a tiny fraction of the energy that standard light bulbs use. So whether you choose CFLs or LEDs, you’re going to use a lot less electricity throughout the year compared to standard bulbs.

5. Opt-In to Community Energy-Saving Programs

You might be surprised how many opportunities exist in your community that might help you save money on your electric bill this summer–and all year long. First, check with your electric company to see if they have any options or tips to help you out. Some electric companies offer free devices that regulate water heaters more efficiently and can shave several dollars off your bill every month.

Community groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or even local chapters of conservation groups will sometimes plant young trees for free in their community. A tree planted along your east or west side of your home could provide early-morning or early-evening shade to cool off part of your home a little more easily.

Save Money on your Electric Bill with Tips from Oasis Home Inspections

Cutting down your electric bill this summer can be fairly painless if you follow these five energy-saving tips. Some of them might require a small investment up-front, while others are totally free. But either way, you’ll still end up saving money all summer long, and you can expect the savings to continue to accumulate for the rest of the year, too.

Oasis Home Inspections serves the Space Coast of Florida with home inspection services which include free Thermal Imaging. A thermal imaging inspection can help provide insight into your home’s energy efficiency. Contact us to schedule your inspection.