Upgrade your systems. The Alliance to Save Energy suggests replacing older light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Doing so saves electricity directly, and fluorescents generate less heat. If you're buying other major items, such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, or even televisions, don't forget to take energy efficiency into account. The Energy Department's Energy Star rating helps consumers navigate those purchase decisions, so look for products with the label.
If you're in the market for a new air conditioning unit, the Energy Department recommends paying close attention to size. Some consumers mistakenly choose bigger units, thinking they'll be more powerful, but in reality, they can make too much noise and use up excess electricity. A unit that's the right size for the home will last longer and be more efficient, the agency says.
Taking these steps will not only reduce your monthly energy bills, but also create some room in your budget for more entertaining types of summer fun.