Summer is here and to most that means school vacation, trips to the pool, and backyard BBQs with friends and family. But don’t get too excited, soon you’ll be reminded that summer temperatures don’t come cheap. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to cut down on your household energy expenses, so you can stop spending and start saving.
1. Seal and Insulate. Did you know that sealing air leaks and adding insulation are the two most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency and comfort in your home? According to the EPA, tackling both projects, can save you up to 10% on your annual utility bills.
2. Keep the Vents Clear. While you’re checking items off of your spring cleaning to-do list…don’t forget to wipe off your air vents. If not cleaned regularly, a build-up of dust and debris can block airflow. Not only does that put a strain on your HVAC system but it’ll also drive up your energy costs. Also make sure your vents aren’t covered by furniture or curtains.
3. Schedule an AC Tune-Up. Not only is scheduling an annual air conditioning tune-up and inspection necessary for safe system operation, but it’s also needed to ensure optimal efficiency. During a tune-up, an HVAC technician will thoroughly clean your system, tighten any loose fittings, and inspect it for wearing parts.
4. Open the Windows. In northeast Ohio it’s common to have cooler nighttime temperatures. Don’t forget that turning off your air conditioner and opening up your windows is a great way to naturally ventilate your home, free of charge.
5. Shut Out the Sun. Prevent unnecessary heat gain by keeping your shades or blinds drawn during the day.
6. Turn on Your Ceiling Fans. If you’ve got ceiling fans, you should definitely take advantage of them during the summer. It may seem counter intuitive to run ceiling fans, when you’re trying to conserve energy. But doing so, according to the Department of Energy, allows you to set your thermostat four degrees warmer without any reduction in comfort. Just make sure your ceiling fans are operating in a counterclockwise motion.
7. Get Smart with Your Thermostat Settings. It might be tempting to crank up the air on a hot summer day, but if you try to resist, your wallet will thank you. As a helpful tip, the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. If you’ve got a smart or programmable thermostat, make sure you take full advantage of its scheduling feature. Turning up the thermostat while you’re away can have a big impact on your energy savings.
8. Cook Outside. Who doesn’t love firing up the grill on a hot summer day? And it’s a good thing! Cooking indoors when its hot generates an excess of heat, forcing your air conditioning system to work harder to keep you cool.
9. Use LED Lighting. Incandescent and fluorescent light sources that are warm (or hot) to the touch, are a very common source of unwanted summertime heat. Now you can buy affordable LED lighting that not only draws less electricity but stays cool to the touch for maximum energy savings.
10. Adjust Your Water Heater Settings. Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turning down the temperature of your water heater will create savings without compromise. Set the temperature to warm (120°F) for maximum benefit.