There are many things to love about summer – family trips, beach days, backyard barbecues … the list goes on and on. But, along with all the perks, summer in Central Florida is also the time for something much less desirable – skyrocketing electric bills.

The good news is that if you live in a LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home, you already have the foundation for significantly reduced electric bills, especially when compared to older homes.

Even so, if you’re not keeping tabs on your energy usage, your electric bills can easily creep up during summer months. Luckily there are things you can do to help keep your electricity bills at bay all summer long. Take heed to these tips.

  • Ensure an optimal performance of your air-conditioner, without breaking a sweat or breaking the bank. During scorching Central Florida summers, our air-conditioners become our best friends. But, to ensure you’re getting the best performance from your air-conditioning system, consider these household adjustments: First, make sure your blinds are closed and drapes are pulled on the sunny side of your home to help deflect outside heat. Second, don’t leave your thermostat set low all the time — turning it up during nighttime hours or when you’re away is always a good idea. Also note that ceiling fans cost little to operate and the moving air in your home allows you to feel comfortable at air-conditioning temperatures several degrees higher. Finally, change your air filters on a regular basis for the best possible air flow.
  • Flip the switch on appliances and electronics. It is estimated that 5-10% of electricity expenditures come from appliances and electronics that are plugged in 24 hours a day. And while each one may only contribute a small amount to total electricity usage, when you consider the impact of all your devices combined, it can add up quick. That said, when it’s convenient, unplug your appliances and electronics when they’re not in use. And consider connecting multiple devices to a power strip to make the process a bit easier and quicker.
  • Be conscious of water heating and conservation. While there are many things you can do to reduce your need to heat and use water, here are some of the easiest tricks:
    • When washing your hands or brushing your teeth, don’t let the faucet run unnecessarily.
    • Designate one drinking glass per day to lighten your dish-washing load, and load your dishes in the dishwasher properly to ensure no wasted space.
    • Stay conscious of hot shower time, and take shorter showers if possible.
    • Match your washing machine’s water level to the size of your load, and wash dark clothes in cold water. Pay attention to when your clothes in your dryer are actually dry.
    • Place tissues in the garbage versus flushing them down the toilet.
    • Ensure your sprinkler system is only watering your lawn, and not needlessly spraying the sidewalk or your home.
    • Lower the temperature on your water heater. According to the Edison Electric Institute, lowering it from 140-degrees Fahrenheit to 120-degrees Fahrenheit can reduce your electric bill by 10%.
  • Cook and bake smart. Like water conservation, there are many things you can do to conserve electricity when cooking and baking. For example, when heating a meal or boiling water on the stove, use tightly fitted lids. This will keep heat inside the pot or pan and allow you to cook at lower temperatures. If an item can be properly heated in your microwave, do it. Not only will it save you time, it will use considerable less electricity than a conventional oven. Also when baking in your oven, be sure to pre-heat your oven at the right time. Pre-heating too early wastes heat and electricity.
  • Light right. In all new LifeStyle homes, we install compact fluorescent bulbs as part of our LifeStyle SunSmart℠ package. These bulbs are estimated to use 75% less electricity than conventional bulbs, and are estimated to last 10 times longer. But, to save even more electricity, ensure that all lights are turned of when they’re not needed, and use task lighting fixtures for reading and other activities that don’t require the whole room to be lit.

Of course, the items listed above represent just a sample of things you can do to keep your home as energy-efficient as possible all summer long. At the end of the day, it’s important to be conscious of your energy consumption, and if at all possible, live in a tightly-built energy-efficient home — like a LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home.