Everyone has noticed the recent change in the weather. It is an exciting time when winter winds down, and spring comes out. We put away our snow tires and take out the lawn furniture. We put the snow boots in storage and break out the sandals. But eventually spring turns into summer and the warmth of spring can turn into the discomfort of summer heat. When this happens, it is no longer sufficient to just keep the windows open to cool the house – we need to crank up the air conditioning to keep our homes livable. This can be very costly; both in terms of the amount of energy used and the amount of money it costs to use that energy. There are plenty of ways, though, to keep your summer energy costs low, as long as you take a few of the right steps. Below are some of the best ways to reduce your summer energy costs.
Tip #1 – Keep all of the blinds and shades closed whenever you can. A lot of heat can come into your home through the windows during the daytime when sunlight is pouring through. It is a smart move, therefore, to keep your blinds and shades drawn whenever you can. If you want to keep them open while you are in the room for the natural light, just be sure that you close them when you leave.
Tip #2 – Skip the clothes dryer when you can. Not everyone has the option of line drying their laundry, but if you do, you should take advantage of it. During the summer you can dry your clothes outdoors on the line and use no extra energy. The dryer uses a lot of energy, so this will cut your energy use – and your bills – significantly.
Tip #3 – Keep all of the doors and windows closed when running the air conditioner. When you are using your air conditioner you should aim to keep all of that cool air indoors, and not allow it to escape outside. If you keep your doors and windows open, you will need to run your air conditioner on a higher setting, wasting energy, and driving your bills up. However, it is still a good idea to ventilate your house once a day by opening all the doors and windows for fifteen minutes. It will allow fresh air into your home, clearing away dust and other airborne toxins. Just turn the air conditioning off when you do it.
Tip #4 – Clean all of your filters. Cleaning filters is not anybody’s idea of a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it only takes a few minutes and can have a big impact. According to U.S. News, “Geoff Godwin, division vice president of Emerson, the country’s largest provider of heating and cooling systems, says it’s important to clean out air conditioning filters once a month, which usually involves running water through them and letting them air-dry.”
Tip #5 – Use your thermostats on a timer. Timers are an excellent way to keep your energy costs low. You do not need to cool your home during the day when you are at the office. Programmable thermostats allow the temperature to go up during the daytime when the house is empty, and can save users as much thirty percent on their energy bills. Most thermostats come with these functionalities, but people forget to use them, wasting their money and energy.
Tip #6 – Use the oven less than you do in the winter. Cooking your food in an oven is a great option in the winter, but in the summer it makes your whole house hot. Find other ways to cook – there are plenty of them. You can sauté on the stove, grill on the barbeque, or cure your food in the fridge. Using the oven means you have to blast the air conditioner, so avoid it if you can.
Tip #7 – Lower the temperature of your hot water heater. Most people keep their hot water heaters way too hot, much hotter than necessary to perform basic functions. Lowering the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit can save you more fifty dollars annually, and chances are you will probably not even notice the difference. And besides, in the summer you should enjoy cooler showers anyway – it uses less energy and is more refreshing!
Of course when the weather is hot, you should also take health precautions to avoid overheating and dehydration. Make sure you drink extra water when you are out in the heat and wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin!
Matthew Zajechowski writes about air conditioning and heating savings tips for Controlled Comfort.