With the Alabama summer heat on the rise, you’ve probably noticed an increase on your utility bill. It’s no secret that hot weather can put a strain on your home’s heating & cooling system, but did you know that there are lots of simple steps you can take to save on your utility bill?
Birmingham, we asked — you answered
Earlier this month, we asked our readers about which power-saving tips they would like to learn more about. Here’s the final verdict:
- Replacing your air filter 🏠 — 15%
- Optimizing your thermostat 🌡 — 41%
- Optimize each laundry cycle 🧺 — 14%
- How to find ‘phantom loads’ 🔌 —30%
3 Ways You Can Save on Your Power Bill 🔌
1. Replacing your Air Filter 🏠
Have you replaced your air filter recently? Air filters are more important than you might think. They help your heating & cooling system work more efficiently by reducing the amount of dust, mold, dirt, pet hair and other obstructants that get in the equipment. Replacing your dirty air filter is one of the easiest & simplest ways to keep your air fresh while saving you money on the utility bill.
Alabama Power recommends changing your air filter on a regular basis to help protect your heating & cooling system. Remember, changing your air filters frequently is more important than buying the most expensive option.
Fun Fact: There is no such thing as a “normal” air filter! There are thousands of different sizes, so don’t be afraid to bust out the tape measure.
2. Optimizing your Thermostat 🌡
If it was up to me, I’d have my thermostat set at a crisp 68° 24/7, 365 days a year. Unfortunately, Alabama’s summer has different plans.
In order to keep your air conditioning unit from working too hard—and sending your utility bill skyrocketing—it’s important to find a middle ground. Alabama Power recommends following the 20° rule, which means setting your thermostat no more than 20° lower than the temperature outside.
For example, if it’s 92° outside, your thermostat shouldn’t be any lower than 72°. Since air conditioners cool by removing heat and dehumidifying indoor air, the 20° rule keeps your unit from working hard and using more energy.
Pro Tip: Since most ceiling fans have a switch to change direction, make sure yours is spinning counterclockwise to create a direct, cooling downdraft.
3. Identifying Phantom Loads 🔌
Not all appliances and devices stop using electricity if they’re plugged into an electrical outlet—even when they’re turned off. Known as phantom loads, these devices slowly siphon electricity—a little here, a little there—but the cost can add up over time.
Some examples of phantom loads include:
- Cell phone chargers
- Microwave ovens
- Laptop chargers
- Hair dryers
Just like replacing your air filter, fixing phantom loads is simple and easy! Either unplug your devices when not in use, keep them plugged in to a smart power strip that automatically shuts off power when not in use or learn more about home automation options.
Learn More Energy-Saving Tips with Alabama Power
Changing your air filter, optimizing your thermostat and identifying phantom loads are quick & simple ways to make a big difference in your utility bill. Want to learn even more ways to make your home energy efficient? Check out these resources from Alabama Power: