Judie Docs, Executive Officer, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA), CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM

Summer is a time known for vacations, beaches and higher than usual utility bills. The average U.S. residential customer’s electricity bills will total $412 between June and August this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Consuming less energy can help you save money on utility bills. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to reduce your energy costs during the dog days of summer.

Fix Air Leaks

Control ventilation to help control costs. When air enters and leaves your home through cracks and openings, you have an air leak. Look for possible leaks outside and inside of your home. Exterior areas where two different building materials meet such as siding and chimneys are havens for air leaks. Inside your home, gaps can be found in places such as door and window frames, baseboards and attic hatches. Depending on the type of leak, you can caulk, seal or add weather-stripping to reduce air leaks in your home and potentially save money.

Seek out Energy Vampires

If you have an electronic gadget or appliance that uses electricity when plugged in but not in use, you have an “energy vampire.” Electronics plugged into your wall outlets can add to your utility bill. Common household items that are plugged in and zap electricity when not in use include: hair dryers, video game consoles, cable boxes and portable fans. Unplug devices to save energy and eliminate energy vampires.

Check Your Home Insulation

Heat flows from warmer to cooler temperature spaces. Insulation provides a protective layer between the heat radiating on your roof and the interior of your home. If your home is not properly insulated, heat can enter your home and your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep your it cool. Older homes may have little to no insulation in the ceiling and in the walls. Seek out a professional to determine how much insulation to add. You can also make sure your attic door is insulated and closed tight. Attic vents should never be blocked by insulation.

Air Conditioning Tune-Up

If you want to optimize the performance of your air conditioner so it will provide comfort through the summer months, hire a professional for a tune-up. At a minimum, your air conditioner filters should be cleaned and replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Window blinds and shades are another way to help reduce the heat in your home.

To learn more about ways to improve your home’s overall efficiency during the summer months contact the North Coast Building Industry Association.  We are your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the Industry tab).

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