Summer is here and the temperatures are soaring across the country. Temperatures aren’t the only thing soaring though, energy costs in the summertime tend to rise as well. Keeping your home or apartment cool and comfortable doesn’t have to break the bank though. Here are some tips that you can use to stay cool at home and still keep your energy costs down.
Close Your Blinds and Curtains
Keep your blinds and your curtains closed to help keep the summer heat out of your home. If you keep the blinds closed in windows that get full sun exposure you can reduce your energy costs by as much as 45%. Curtains can also reduce the amount of heat and sunlight in your home and reduce your energy costs by as much as 33%.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Use the ceiling fans in your home to help keep it cooler, and more comfortable. Don’t forget to change your ceiling fan’s settings for summer. During the winter months your ceiling fan should be rotating clockwise to push the warm air from the ceiling back down towards the floor. Flip the switch on the fan, usually located on the motor, during the summer so that the fan rotates in a counter-clockwise direction so that cool air is pushed down to the floor. This helps to evaporate any moisture on your skin and keeps you cooler and more comfortable without having to turn down the thermostat on the air conditioner. Homeowners who utilize their ceiling fans can reduce their summer utility bills by as much as 40%.
Fill Any Cracks
You can lose a lot of your precious cooled air through cracks in your home that you may not even notice unless you go looking for them. You can use caulk to fill in any cracks around your home’s door and window frames. You can also use weatherstripping to seal any gaps where your doors and windows close or move up and down. A simple test of whether or not your doors need new caulk or weatherstripping is to put a dollar bill in the door or window and close it. If you can easily pull the dollar bill back out with the door or window closed it is time for new weatherstripping.
Change Your Filter and Clean Your Unit
Ii doesn’t matter if you have central air conditioning or a window unit it has to be maintained to run efficiently. This means that the filter needs to be changed regularly if you want your unit to be effective and use less energy. Cleaning or changing your air filter can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency by as much 15%. Other components also need to be maintained such as the coils and fins, but you may need to allow a professional to handle those.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
If you haven’t already, consider changing your light bulbs to more energy-efficient LED bulbs. LED bulbs operate at a lower wattage than incandescent bulbs do, and they put off much less heat. The LED light bulbs will last a whole lot longer, keep your home cooler, and your energy costs down. Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room so that you aren’t wasting electricity or unnecessarily heating the room.
Unplugging electronics such as your laptop, TV, and phone chargers when they aren’t in use can help to keep your home cooler and reduce your energy costs. All of these electronics generate heat anytime that they are plugged in, unplugging them when they are not in use can help you to save a hundred dollars or more per year.
Maintain Your Refrigerator
Make sure that there isn’t too much empty space in your refrigerator. Refrigerators run more efficiently when they are pretty full, but still, have enough room for airflow. If yours is looking a little sparse you can fill in the gaps with jugs of water until you head to the store.
Make sure that you pull your refrigerator away from the wall and clean the coils at least twice a year. This makes your refrigerator run more efficiently, clean coils can improve efficiency by as much as 30%! While you are at it, make sure to clean under the refrigerator so that air can flow freely, and check to make sure that your seals aren’t letting any of your cool air out. You can check this by placing a dollar bill in the door and closing it. If you can easily pull the dollar out once the door is closed it is time for a new seal.
Wash with Cold Water
Another tip for reducing your summer energy costs is to wash and rinse your clothes with cold water instead of hot. Did you know that as much as 90% of your washing machines energy is used to heat the water up? Your clothes will get just as clean if you wash them with cold water and you will save money.
Another energy reduction tip for your laundry is to hang your clothes out to dry on a clothesline in the heat instead of using the dryer. The dryer heats your home and uses a lot of energy in the process, besides air-dried clothes smell and feel great!
Don’t Use the Oven
Grilling season is upon us and using your grill to cook your meals instead of the oven will help to keep your home much cooler, and your energy costs down. If you have to use the oven, use it early in the day before it gets too hot outside. If you don’t have a grill try using your microwave, toaster oven, slow cooker, or instant cooker instead. Summer salads and sandwiches are also quite tasty and refreshing this time of year.
Use these tips to help keep your energy costs down this summer, while still keeping your cool. These are far from all of the energy reducing techniques you can use to keep your bills lower this summer, but they should help to get you started.