With summer in full swing and temperatures at their peak, we’re all looking for ways to keep our cool. Fortunately, there are many smart strategies you can use to reduce your energy usage, save money and help cut your carbon footprint during the record heat waves of summer.
Review our easy-to-implement tips below for keeping your family comfortable all summer long, without breaking the bank.
Maximizing the efficiency of your cooling system is the most essential factor in reducing energy costs while maintaining a reasonable temperature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a dirty A/C filter can save you as much as 15 percent in energy use. Regular HVAC maintenance will also keep your unit in proper working order for longer, which can save you more money on having to repair or replace it down the road.
Regardless of whether you’re running the air conditioning, make sure to keep the blinds closed on the side of your home that receives the most direct sunlight. If you’re going to be away from home all day, draw the blinds throughout your house. Doing so helps keep many of the sun’s rays from entering your home, which can lower your indoor temperatures and reduce your energy bill by preventing your A/C from cycling on as often.
Cooking inside during the summer months heats your home considerably. Plus, when you cook indoors, it takes a lot of energy to heat things up and then cool them back down again. The solution is to grill meals as often as you can, and only use the kitchen for cold and room-temperature dishes like salads, fruit bowls and sandwiches.
Ceiling fans can work in conjunction with your A/C to significantly reduce your air conditioning needs in the summer. Setting the blades to rotate counterclockwise is as straightforward as flipping a switch on your ceiling fan. You’ll know it’s right when you can feel air blowing across your skin if you stand under the fan. Ceiling fans provide a better cooling effect in summer when they blow air down directly below the blades, which is the effect of setting the blades to run counterclockwise. It will allow you to raise your thermostat a few degrees and remain comfortable. Just remember to turn the fan off when you leave the room, as they are not designed to cool the space as efficiently as they are the people in the space.
Not only will cold water provide an instant cool-off that makes the heat feel a little more tolerable, it also reduces the amount of energy you will use from your water heater, which is a noted energy hog. And while hot showers can be relaxing, they’re not worth spending the extra money on in the summer.
A system upgrade can take your energy savings to the next level. Because cooling your home requires so much energy, buying an energy-efficient system is a smart move that will save you money for years to come. When you’re upgrading your air conditioner, look for Energy Star-certified systems that have a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio, which will be considerable more efficient than older models. If you’re committed to going green, think about upgrading your entire home with Energy Star appliances.
In the summer, try to maintain your home’s temperature so it is just cool enough to keep you comfortable. You can also save money on your energy bills by buying a programmable thermostat that keeps the temperature higher when nobody is home, so you are not wasting energy cooling an empty house. Many newer models of programmable thermostats also sync with smartphone apps that enable you to adjust your temperature from anywhere your phone can connect to Wi-Fi. It couldn’t be more convenient than that!
You can also save money on your energy bills by leaving your house and seeking cooler temperatures elsewhere in the community. In the hottest part of the day, round up the kids and head to the library or the movie theater to cool off, instead of constantly running the A/C in your home. To get the best value out of this, turn off your air conditioning before you leave, so you’re conserving energy while you’re away from home.
As we all learned in science class, warmer air rises and cooler air sinks. That means the coolest parts of your home are on the lowest floor – in your basement, if you have one. When temperatures reach their peak, turn your basement into your family room. Even if you are still running your air conditioning, you won’t need to run it for as long as you would otherwise, since the lower floors of your home will naturally stay cooler than the rest of the house.
Did you know any device that’s plugged into an outlet or power strip is using some amount of energy, even if you’re not using it? Getting in the habit of unplugging devices when you’re not using them can help lower your energy bills by eliminating this “phantom” energy.
You have probably experienced the phenomenon of walking through a shady spot on a hot summer day and instantly feeling blissfully cooler. Now, imagine if you could do the same for your home! Though it may not pay off immediately, planting shrubs and trees on the south and west sides of your house, or at least over your outdoor A/C unit, can make your cooling work more efficiently for you.
When it comes to helping you save money, the time of day when you are using electricity is a significant factor to consider. Energy companies charge you more during the hours of the day when they experience the highest demand. By planning your energy use for the “off-peak” hours of early morning or late night, you can help reduce the load on the grid and lower your monthly energy bill. If the forecast is especially high (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit), wait until after 6 p.m. to do energy-intensive tasks like cooking, doing laundry or running your dishwasher.
Even if everyone in your family is home, it’s likely you have a room or two that isn’t in use. Closing the doors and A/C vents in these rooms can help your cooling system work more efficiently by not wasting energy on maintaining a consistent temperature in empty rooms.
These simple strategies can help you cut down your summer cooling costs and reduce your energy consumption without cramping your style. You can take all the money you’ve saved and put it toward a dream family vacation next summer!
If you’re interested in even more money-saving tips on making your home more energy-efficient this summer and throughout the year, contact your locally owned experts at Maichle’s HVAC. Our experienced team has been servicing and installing air conditioning and heating systems since 1984, so you know you can count on us for reliability and efficiency, with one of the most comprehensive customer guarantees in the industry. Contact us today to schedule your free service estimate.