Summer is upon us and the heat is coming- and we’ve already been hit with some of it! Keep your home cooler this summer by making smart decisions. From avoiding the use of the stove and oven through the hottest days to setting the thermostat properly while you’re gone, there are a variety of ways that you can reduce the amount of energy your home uses throughout the summer months.
Ten Tips to Lower Summer Utility Bills
Whether you’re a hands-on homeowner who tackles the mechanical repairs in your home, or you hire someone to take care of these tasks, these ten tips may help.
1. Keep the vents clean. When vents are clean, the air flows more easily. When ductwork is clean, your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to cool your home.
2. Use a programmable thermostat. If you’re outside the home and no one else is there during the day, there’s little reason to keep the AC on. It’s wasteful and expensive to let your HVAC run throughout the day. But, a programmable thermostat is a great investment because you can turn on the air conditioner just before you arrive home. This way your home is comfortable when you arrive, but you haven’t wasted as much energy.
3. Use windows the right way. Open the windows during the coolest times and close them as the day starts to heat up. Keep the windows covered during the warmest times to help keep the cool air in.
4. Use the ceiling fans. If you can keep air circulating, it tends to help things to feel cooler. Ceiling fans set to turn in a counter-clockwise direction to create a down draft, pushing hot air up and cool air down can help to cool a room. Using a ceiling fan in a room where you spend large amounts of time can help you feel more comfortable.
5. Use household appliances wisely. Washing clothes and dishes can use a lot of energy, particularly if you don’t pay a lot of attention to the settings you use. These activities can also heat up the home. If you’re doing the laundry, try to limit it to when you have a full load. When the washer is full, take it a step further and use cold water. When it comes to the dishwasher, again, wait for full loads, and skip the heated drying cycle.
6. Unplug items you don’t use often. Even if you turn appliances off, that doesn’t mean they’re off. Anything with a clock pulls electricity to display the time. If something has a remote, it uses power to communicate with the infrared remote. Or, if you’re not looking forward to the idea of shutting off items individually, putting these items onto a power strip is a great idea. This way, you can turn off all of those rarely used items at once.
7. Plant trees and shrubs to shade your home. If you can deflect the sunshine from your home, the U.S. Department of Energy says you can increase the efficiency of units by 10 percent.
8. Replace traditional window screens with solar screens. These mesh-like screens keep quite a bit of heat out of buildings. If placed on east and west-facing windows, it can make a big difference in the temp inside, while still keeping bugs out.
9. Seal cracks and add insulation as needed. Cooling your home is fabulous, but only if that cool air doesn’t leak out of cracks in the walls and windows. The attic, even the light switches and outlets are other spaces you’ll want to insulate if you’re concerned about energy efficiency in your home. An HVAC professional can help you find cracks and insulation issues that are less than obvious and can help you seal them up.
10. Insulate your water heater. Putting what is known as a “hot water heater jacket” on your water heater can keep anywhere from 25 percent to 45 percent more heat in your tank at any given time. Insulation means you don’t have to spend as much money to heat the water.
The summer is a time when the demands on electrical resources are high!
This means higher bills for all and an increase in the work that the electrical grid has to do to power everything. With a little work and effort, as well as patience, you may be able to lower the pressure your consumption adds to the overall demand, and over time, you may find that you’re spending less money on utilities.
Let Home Service Doctors help save you some money with efficient systems! Call us today to let us advise on the best systems for your needs.