Whether we want to reduce our carbon footprint or lower the amount due on our monthly utility bill, there’s plenty of ways to practice more conservative energy consumption in our daily lives without sacrificing comfort. Chances are you’re already aware of the more obvious ways, such as keeping doors and windows shut, easing up on the thermostat at night, upgrading to more efficient technology, etc. However, there are also plenty of small things you can do that, while you may not have considered them prior to this article, could substantially reduce your overall energy consumption. So without further ado, here’s 10 underrated tips to reduce your energy bills this summer.
For all its unpredictability, summer weather always adheres to one constant. While hotter than usual, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. Using this information, homeowners can strategically close blinds at different times of day to prevent the sun’s harshest rays from directly entering their home, thus keeping the house cooler & preventing the need for lower thermostat settings. Find out which windows face east and which ones face west in your home. East facing windows will be hit directly early in the day and west facing windows will be hit later in the day closer to sunset, while north and south facing windows will be affected most in the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest.
Due to architects designing homes that embrace natural light for aesthetic purposes, the rooms you spend most of your time in (ie. living rooms, family rooms kitchens) are often the areas that are hit hardest by the harsh rays of the summer sun during daylight hours. Even if you’re willing to close the blinds and curtains in these areas during the day, the excess sunlight there can render Tip 1 substantially less effective. In these cases, you may want to consider planting trees or putting up an awning if possible. By strategically creating shade along your home’s exterior, you can effectively prevent these harsh rays from ever reaching certain windows in the first place.
Cutting off natural light to reduce your A/C usage doesn’t mean you have to rely on more artificial lighting, especially if you get strategic with your interior decorating. Whether relying on natural light or artificial sources, mirrors can help spread light throughout a home and make it feel brighter without relying on energy-consuming artificial sources. You can even try different strategic placements to find where you get the most out of each mirror.
It’s a basic fact of science that heat rises. Therefore, depending on the sophistication of your home’s HVAC equipment, your second floor (if you have one) is likely a few degrees warmer than the first floor. The more time you spend in the lower levels of your home, the less likely you are to abuse the minus button on your thermostat. If you’re fortunate enough to have a finished basement, the summer is a great time to get the most out of its natural thermal insulation and inevitably cooler temperatures.
Unless you live alone, you’re not the only one contributing to your home’s overall energy consumption. It’s important to discuss energy consumption with the people you live with, especially if you’re making an effort to reduce it. This is especially important when it comes to children, who may not appreciate the full scope of cause and effect that energy consumption entails (especially with regard to how it affects your wallet) until you explain it to them. You may also want to establish rules for energy consumption within your household, such as turning off lights in empty rooms, unplugging unused appliances, etc.
It may seem like everyone is already constantly aspiring to drink more water, and for good reasons. It’s no secret that staying hydrated is great for your mental and physical health, but the benefits of doing so can also extend to other aspects of your daily life, including energy consumption. Drinking plenty of cool water decreases your body’s chance of overheating and makes it easier to maintain a lower core temperature. This increased ability to regulate heat internally makes you less dependent on external regulators like air conditioning. People who stay hydrated also have more energy and tend to engage in more physical activities, which require them to get out of the house and off their devices.
Some people like their showers more than others, but indulging in long, hot showers on a daily basis is a luxury that will substantially increase your overall monthly energy consumption. Summer is the perfect time to curb this habit and opt for shorter showers with cooler water. This doesn’t require subjecting yourself to freezing cold showers – aim for a happy medium to give yourself a better chance of making it into a habit over time. Showering with room temperature water is not only better for your water bill – it’s also good for your skin, and it prevents your body temperature from rising like it would during a hot shower.
Using strategically placed reminders is a great way to prompt yourself and others into making a habit of more conscious energy consumption. For example, if you’re the type of person who has a bad habit of leaving the sink running while you brush your teeth, you could leave a little sticky note on your bathroom mirror reminding you not to do so. Sticky notes next to light switches and/or exit points can help you remember to turn off the lights when you leave the room. And of course, a big “DO NOT TOUCH” note on the thermostat wouldn’t hurt.
This may come as a shock to some who appreciate the ease of modern technology a little too much, but unplugging from your devices and kicking it old school can be good for you, good for your wallet and even fun. You don’t have to start washing your clothes by hand or storing meat underground. Try starting with something less extreme, like scheduling family game nights once a week for some fun, tech-free quality time with your loved ones. Even if it’s only a few hours a week, the less electrical devices you use, the less energy you consume.
One of the best ways to reduce your home’s overall energy consumption is to spend less time in it and get out of the house more. The more time you spend away from home, the less energy you consume there, in some cases even once you’ve returned home. The more time you spend outdoors in the heat without air conditioning, the cooler your home will feel once you go back inside. This will help you appreciate your AC more without having to blast it. Remember to turn off lights and unplug certain appliances whenever you leave. Set your thermostat accordingly and make sure your fans aren’t on, but don’t power down your entire HVAC system unless you plan to be gone for an extended period of time.
If you live in or around the Delaware Valley region and want to make sure you save as much energy as possible on your HVAC and plumbing this summer, Maichle’s is always here to help, from evaluations and recommendations to installations and upkeep. To learn more, contact us via email or give us a call at (302) 328-HVAC to get started today!