North Carolina may not get the worst winters in America, but don’t let those mild winter months fool you. Not always needing to turn up the heat in winter just means that when the summer season arrives, the heat and humidity can be unforgiving.

This happens especially for the electronics we rely on to get our work done, like computers. But with a few easy to follow hacks, we can help you to keep your energy bills a little lower.

Update Your Thermostat

A thermostat is often a well-built piece of hardware that can last decades. But if your thermostat is from the last century, and, worse yet, isn’t even digital, give some serious thought to replacing it with a new model.

It may be working, but it’s not being as efficient for you or your monthly bills. Even the most inexpensive new digital thermostat has programmable features that let you schedule temperatures for different times of the day.

It means that when things are heating up during the summer, but the kids are still at school, you can program the AC to minimal power, but start cooling down just before people come home. New, high tech “smart” thermostats can analyze living patterns in a home, and then automatically adjust temperatures based on those habits. They can even be operated by your phone.

Check Your Ducts for Leaks

The air ducts in a home often act as a cost-efficient solution for both heating and cooling needs. Regardless of whether the air is warmed by a furnace, or cooled by an air conditioner, ducts can carry both types of processed air throughout a home, and into every room that needs it.

But air ducts, like water pipes in plumbing, can suffer from structural breaks and defects, eventually causing leaks. While this doesn’t cause water damage the same way plumbing pipes might, it does lead to inefficiencies in your HVAC system that results in higher bills.

An HVAC expert conducting a “health check” on your ducts can clean them, and, if any leaks are found, quickly repair the issue to restore efficiency, and eliminate small problems before they turn into big ones.

Get Drapes for Your Windows

Curtains and drapes are often dismissed as just literal window dressing that is there only for aesthetic reasons. However, in addition to providing privacy from outside viewers, curtains, drapes or blinds can also play a role in keeping your home cooler.

Windows are designed to let light in, but a natural consequence of that is heat comes in as well. This is great during winter months since it can warm up your room. But if your AC is trying to keep a room cool in the summer, sunlight is making that job even harder.

The use of curtains, drapes or blinds during the “peak hours” of sunlight for your home can keep the heat out, and let your AC do its job without any extra struggles. Durham, NC has some of the milder weather in the country, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have energy bills to worry about every month. Smart usage and an awareness of how your energy is being spent can help you to keep those heating and cooling bills from getting too high.