Record-breaking heat waves have dominated the news cycle this summer. In addition to serious climate implications, the intense heat poses a threat to many of our wallets as we inevitably increase our electricity use to cool off. The good news? We can take action to keep the temperature of our homes low — and our bills even lower. Read on for several summer energy-saving tips that put money back in your bank account. 

Table of Contents

    10 Energy-Saving Tips for Your NYC Home

    Check Your Air Conditioning Unit ASAP

    First things first when trying to keep your electricity bill low in the summertime: Know what you’re working with. We suggest an inspection of your A/C unit to make sure that all of its parts are running efficiently. Things like clogged filters and dirty coils can affect the air conditioner’s ability to absorb heat. Doing your due diligence to replace these parts may significantly lower your A/C’s energy consumption by upwards of 15%, which in turn can translate to a slashed electricity bill. And if you’ve had the same window unit for decades, it might be time for an upgrade.

    Choose Fans Over A/C

    If you’re really serious about cutting energy costs this summer, you might consider divesting from your air conditioner — or at least using it in moderation. Standing, ceiling, and desk/tabletop fans can provide great alternatives for cooling off for a fraction of the cost. According to USA Today, fans use only approximately 1% of the electricity used to power an air conditioning unit. While you admittedly might feel the difference in the air (fans only cool your skin, not the entire room), you’ll feel this switch most in your decreased electric bill.

    Unplug Your Devices

    You’ve probably heard this piece of advice time and time again. You’ve maybe even shrugged it off. After all, how much of a difference can unplugging unused devices really make? Turns out, idle electronics continue to draw costly phantom loads of energy even when not actively in use. So while it might be tempting to ignore this seemingly small action, it can end up costing you over time. If remembering to unplug everything feels like an insurmountable chore, you can also purchase smart power strips that can detect when your electronics are in standby mode and power off accordingly. 

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    Turn Off Your Lights

    An easy way to minimize electricity costs is to get in the habit of turning off a light switch whenever you leave a room. Better yet, try to go as long as possible throughout your day without turning on any lights at all. You’d be surprised how quickly your eyes can adjust to natural light in heavily windowed spaces. 

    Think Twice About Washing

    If you’re someone who routinely runs a half-empty dishwasher or presses “start” on a load of laundry consisting of a pair of socks and two shirts (assuming you’re fortunate enough to have in-unit laundry in NYC), you might want to re-examine your habits this summer. Strategic washing can decrease the amount of times you run your energy-sucking appliances, thereby significantly lowering your electric bill. Here’s a handy guide for which items of clothes you can safely re-wear a few times — and which ones you must always wash after one use. As for dishes, it’s a pretty safe bet to reuse your water glass a few times before throwing it in the dishwasher. And don’t forget to play a fun game of dish tetris to make sure you’re maximizing the space in your dish rack. 

    Switch Your Bulbs to LED

    One of the easiest summer energy-saving tips to keep your electricity bill low?Switch your lightbulbs. LED lighting uses at least 75% less energy than more traditional incandescent lighting. Head over to your local hardware store and install these low-cost, high-savings bulbs around your home today.

    Keep Your Blinds Closed

    A sure-fire way to save on your electricity bill is to stop heat from accumulating in your living spaces before you even have to contemplate turning on your air conditioning unit. Keeping your blinds and/or curtains closed can help keep the indoor temperature of your home down. You can also invest in specific types of materials — such as blackout or thermal insulated curtains — to help block the heat from your windows.

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    Add Some Plants

    Want cost-efficient cooling that doubles as decor? Strategically adding plants to your home not only helps to block oppressive sunlight and naturally keep the temperature of your place down, but also helps you achieve Instagram-worthy spaces. We especially love monsteras, fiddle leaf trees, dracaenas and large palms for their sizable, light-blocking leaves. As an added bonus, many indoor plants can help eliminate toxic airborne chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene, and replace them with fresh oxygen. This means that you can ditch expensive, energy-guzzling air purifier units. Snake plants, rubber trees, calathea pinstripes and many different types of ivies are particularly great for both obstructing hot light rays and producing fresh, clean indoor air

    Be Mindful of Peak Hours

    Listen, we get it: Most of the time, there’s no way to avoid using electronics entirely during the hot months of summer. But there is a way to organize your day around your electronic use to avoid extra costs. A lot of electric companies charge more money for energy used during “peak” hours. Usually these hours correspond with the hottest part of the day, but be sure to check with your area’s electric company to identify your most expensive timeframe. Then, challenge yourself to only use electronics during “off” hours. Every bit of savings counts!

    Spend More Time Outside

    The ultimate summer energy-saving tip to keep your electricity bill low is to simply spend time outside of your home. After all, you can’t rack up electricity charges from afar! So unplug your laptop, turn off your A/C unit and lights, pack a fun lunch and keep cool in one of the countless public spaces available to New Yorkers. Check out these refreshing neighborhood pools, snag a shady spot in one of these awesome and underrated NYC parks, browse the stacks in your local library for an afternoon, or head to the beach for the day! You’ll enjoy yourself even more knowing that you’re saving money while you relax. 

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