Ah, summer. Hot days, lazy afternoons, and trips to the pool…what’s not to like?
The summertime energy bill, for one.
Hot days mean a/c units are working overtime. Lazy afternoons pump up electronics usage. Trips to the pool create mounds of laundry. All things that will send your energy bill skyrocketing. With summer just weeks away, now is a great time to look at your energy-usage practices and find new ways to boost your efficiency.
Manage Your Thermostat Wisely
Try setting your thermostat a degree or two higher than you usually do. For every degree you set your thermostat above 72, you’ll save 3% on your cooling energy cost. Aim for 78 degrees and you’ll save 10% on your annual energy costs!
Step it up a notch by setting your thermostat higher (or even turning it off) when you leave the house. A smart thermostat will make this a piece of cake—it automatically raises the temperature when you’re not at home.
If you have ceiling fans or even portable fans, give them a try! The air moving across you will keep you cool. So cool, in fact, you could raise your thermostat by up to four degrees and not notice a difference in your comfort level. (That’s saving 12%!)
Step it up a notch by installing a whole house fan. This fan pulls in cool air through your windows and forces the hot air out of your house through attic vents. This will help you turn your air conditioner off completely on some days.
Turn it off
Be mindful of what you have plugged in and turned on. Electronics, lights, fans, chargers, and more will continue to use unnecessary energy even when you’re not actively using them. The Department of Energy says this will save you up to $100 a year!
Keep it cool
Wash those loads of post-pool towels with cold or lukewarm water. The cooler the water you use in the washing machine, the lower your energy costs will be.
Keep an eye on your dryer, too. Make sure your loads are full and you empty the lint drawer each time you use it. If you can, try line-drying your laundry and skip the dryer altogether.
Close those blinds
Sun shining through your windows looks nice, but it raises the temperature in your house quickly—especially from southern-facing windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the hottest part of the day.
Skip the stove
A hot stove and oven can raise the temperature in your kitchen a whopping 10 degrees! Try using other ways to cook your food—microwaves, slow or pressure cookers, and toaster ovens are all great alternatives. Better yet, skip the kitchen completely and make it a barbecue. What says summer more than burgers on the grill and marshmallows over the fire?
Update your a/c unit
If your budget allows, take a look at replacing your old a/c unit with something newer and more efficient. Many utility companies offer rebates for replacing old units, so check with them to see if your purchase may qualify. According to the Department of Energy, even if your unit is just 10 years old, you could save 20-40% of your annual cooling costs by installing a new unit.
If a new air conditioner isn’t in the cards, try replacing your air filters monthly—it will increase airflow to your unit and ensure it’s operating as efficiently as possible.