Want to Stay Cool Without Breaking the Bank This Summer?

Here are 10 Ways to Save BIG Bucks on Utilities.

In master – planned communities such as ARTAVIA™, located north of Houston near Conroe, the homes are designed to offer current energy efficiency standards. This can result in dramatic savings on utilities when the Texas temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees. Architects and builders know the advantages of new home construction, as opposed to a home that might be 10 or 20 years older. A newly constructed home can shave off hundreds of dollars of utility expenses each month because of such factors as better insulation, more efficient appliances, high performance windows and other factors. 

There are also other ways to save money on utilities with a few basic actions. Using the research from two highly regarded sources, here are 10 additional ways a homeowner can stay cool without spending a fortune on utilities.

1. Turn off or turn down your air conditioner when you don’t need it.
Turning your AC off while you’re sleeping can result in huge savings. Even adjusting the temperature before you leave your house will yield savings. In the summer, the thermostat should be set no lower than 78°F to 80°F. For every degree the thermostat is raised, 4% to 8% can be saved on cooling costs.
2. Use a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat is a very energy-efficient tool because it allows you to program what hours your home will be vacant and when you will be asleep. During those times, it will adjust the temperature of your home accordingly. A great model in the programmable thermostat industry is the Nest. While the retail price for the Nest is about $250, the company claims that it can lower electricity bills by 20%.
3. Unplug electronics you’re not using.
Most people waste power without realizing it by leaving appliances and electronics plugged in while they are not in use. These gadgets drain power even when they are turned off. Anything with a clock or light that stays on when the device is powered off is using electricity, as is a plugged-in charger that’s not charging anything.
4. Load up the washing machine.
Experts point out that “You use the same amount of water and energy with a dishwasher or washing machine, regardless of whether the machine is full. But with full loads, you get a lot more for your money. And you run the machine less often.”

5. Switch to ENERGY STAR appliances.
The ENERGY STAR is an accolade given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to a product that meets the rigorous energy-efficiency guidelines set forth by the U.S. government in order to reduce greenhouse emissions. An ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioner uses about 15% less energy than non-certified models. That 15% could save you around $85 over the unit’s lifetime.  

6. Check for thorough home insulation.
Air leakage occurs when warm air from the outside enters the home and cool air leaves your house through cracks and openings. Reducing the flow of air leaking in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut the price of cooling and maximize the functionality of your air conditioning system. Caulking and weather-stripping are the two most simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns after investing. 
7. Clean your air conditioning vents and units.
This is the simplest, cost effective way to save money on summer utilities. For an air conditioning unit to function efficiently, its filters, coils, and fins must be maintained regularly. The most crucial piece of maintenance that will ensure the maximization of your air conditioner is routinely replacing or cleaning its filters. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
8. Turn on your ceiling fan.
A ceiling fan adds charm to any room. It is also a great tool to use with the AC. A ceiling fan will cool the room by approximately 4 degrees, allowing you to then turn the thermostat down accordingly. 
9. Block the sun with blinds and drapes.
Whether they are blinds or drapes, window treatments or coverings can help you save energy. There are two options for window treatments: blinds and drapes. When fully pulled down and closed over a window with a lot of sun exposure, blinds can reduce heat gain by up to 45%. During summer days, you can close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain as well. Drapes can reduce heat gain by 33%.
10. Step away from the Internet.
In addition to being a well-known “time suck,” the electronics that are necessary for online activities also suck up a great deal of electricity. Summer is a great time to take a vacation from the digital world and spend time doing other activities. Some suggestions include: Scheduling a game or craft night with the family, or starting a container garden on your patio.  When you unplug, you can unwind while saving electricity and reconnecting with friends and family.

Come Home to ARTAVIA™

Summer is a magical time to live in ARTAVIA™. Whether it involves grillin’ and chillin’ on the back patio, watching a movie in the entertainment room or taking care of business in a home office, everything is cool. Check out ARTAVIA™ for the lifestyle that you deserve.

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