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Lower Your Electric Bill - Cooling and Heating Tips

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At this time of year, large electricity bills start appearing in mailboxes. Our central air systems help us escape the heat, but powering them can make us feel faint! At Mr. Handyman, our clients are always asking us how to save on energy bills. Here are a few quick, easy and inexpensive things you can do to reduce your bill this summer. These items pay for themselves before you know it!

Attic Hatch Cover

Have you ever gone into your attic on a hot summer day? It feels hot enough to fry an egg up there! Hot air moves to where cool air is found, so in the summer, that means the hot air is moving to your living areas. You are essentially paying to heat your attic in the winter and cool it in the summer. If you have one of those pull-down attic stairs, experts say that the efficiency of your attic insulation is reduced by 55%!

There's a great solution for this problem: an attic door cover. It installs easily and is made of heavy-duty foam, so it's lightweight. You can still get in and out of your attic easily, but the air transfer is reduced. It will also help reduce your winter heating bill!

Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can save you up to 33% on your energy bill! You can purchase a great one for about $75 and they're relatively simple to install. For the summer, if you are out of the house all day, you can program it to let the house get a couple of degrees warmer while you are gone and then cool down again when you are in the house. That cuts your energy usage and saves you money. Why have your A/C working hard when you are not even home to enjoy the coolness?

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The government agency Energy Star says homeowners can save about $180 in energy costs by using a programmable thermostat. On average, for every degree you set back your thermostat, you can save 3% on your energy bill. This one is a no-brainer. Everyone should get one of these. They are well worth it!

Sealing Outlets or Switches

Outlets and switches on walls leading to the exterior of your house are a source of energy loss. In the summer, the warm air in between the walls leaks inside through these areas. That warmer air entering the house makes your A/C unit work harder, costing you money.

It's cheap and easy to correct this problem. You can buy thin foam sealers that fit behind the plates. These cost about 50 cents each and can be found in your local home improvement store near the weatherstripping. You just unscrew the plate, insert the sealer and resecure the plate. Done!


We have seen many homes in which the weatherstripping started to fall off after many years and the homeowner just removed it without replacing it. Bad idea. Experts say a 1/4" gap around a door or window is like having a 9" hole in your house! Even a 1/8" gap is like having a 6" hole! You wouldn't let your house have holes like that, so why do you let your door have a gap? Time to fix it!

By properly sealing the door with weatherstripping, you save money on your heating and cooling bills. Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to install. It comes with adhesive on it, so you just peel and stick.