These simple actions can help conserve energy during summer.
Energy use and costs typically increase in summer, but some simple, economical changes can save energy and reduce electric bills. Most of these energy-saving steps can pay for themselves relatively quickly. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be trimmed by about 3%.
- Most of summer heat buildup in homes comes through windows. Simply closing the curtains, blinds, and shades can reduce this heat gain by 40%.
- Installing awnings or shutters over windows exposed to direct sunlight can reduce indoor heat gain by up to 70%.
- Outdoor landscaping that includes shade trees, as well as shrubs or other plants around the foundation, can also reduce energy costs.
- Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to boost efficiency and cut energy costs year round.
- Clean or change filters monthly during the cooling season. For greater operating efficiency, install the AC unit in a shady area, and keep it free from plant overgrowth and debris.
- Ventilate the attic and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30% of your cooling bill. Be sure the insulation doesn’t block vents or cover exhaust fans.
- Use ceiling and oscillating fans. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler.
- Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Don’t leave computers on when not in use.
- Move heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will raise the temperature at the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Leave it on a higher temperature while you’re away and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return.
Safe Electricity offers more helpful hot weather tips.