Stay Cool and Reduce Your Energy Bills This Summer

Many energy saving techniques are quite simple and can be applied straight away.

Household energy bills increase with higher daytime temperatures, but you can adopt effective ways to stay cool and reduce your energy bills. Here are energy saving techniques to beat the heat during summer and keep electricity bills acceptable. They range from simple ones that you will be able to apply straight away. Others will require upfront investment but have a significant long-term payoff.

Protect Your Windows. Consider installing white window blinds that reflect heat away from the house. The house will be cooler if you close the blinds and protect your windows from direct sunlight.

When searching for window treatments take time to educate yourself about the shading coefficient of different window blinds. The shading coefficient measures the ability of the window treatment to reduce the gain of solar heat. The lower the coefficient, the less heat will enter your residence. Credit: Jo Naylor

Consider a Whole House Fan. It will help bring the temperature down in summer even if you have air conditioning. Installed in the attic, the fan will bring cool air into your home through the windows while pushing hot air out through your attic vent, thus cooling the house. Use it in the early morning and after sunset. This means you can raise the temperature of your AC unit and cut down on energy usage by 5 percent.

Get the Most From Your Air Conditioning. If you have window AC units or a central air conditioning system, replace or clean the filters. Dust and dirt limit airflow, causing the device to run longer and perform less efficiently. A qualified contractor should clean the filter of your air conditioning systems once a year. Window units filters should be replaced monthly. If purchasing a new air conditioner, you should know that a bigger unit does not automatically translate into better performance. For best results, choose the air conditioner that is properly sized for the space. Opt for a high-performing Energy Star® units that outperform conventional units by 10%.

Save Energy With Your Washer. Whenever you can, wash a full load of clothes in cold water and use cold water detergents to save water and energy. For washing small loads, the suitable water-level option should be used. High-performance washers use less water and energy when compared to average washers (water: 50 percent less, energy: 37 percent less).

Air-dry Your Clothes. In summer, you can line-dry clothes on drying racks or clothes lines outdoors instead of using the dryer. For certain fabrics, air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers. If considering a new dryer get one that has a moisture sensor.

Seal Up Your House. By having your home insulated, the house stays cooler longer because the cool air isn’t leaking out through crevices and cracks. Weatherstripping, caulking and sealing up windows and doors will keep more of the cool air inside and you will not be forced to run the AC unit at very low temperatures.

Seal up your home to save energy and achieve more comfortable temperature. Credit: Mark F. Levisay

Get Programmable Thermostat. Save more money and energy by using a programmable thermostat. Adjust the temperature at highest comfortable setting. It can save you up to 10 percent of your cooling cost.

Move Your Cooking Outdoors.Reduce the use of heat-generating appliances such as the stove. The warmer the house, the harder an AC unit must perform to maintain the low temperatures. Cook and barbecue outdoors to keep your home enjoyably cool.

Cooking outdoors is not only a fun activity; it also keeps your home cool during the hot season. Credit: Michael Bentley

Be Greener With Your Dishwasher. Conserve energy by not running your dishwasher if it isn’t fully loaded. Let your dishes air dry to cut down on costs. If purchasing a new dishwasher, make sure it has the ENERGY STAR® label. High-performance dishwashers use less water and energy (only 5.8 gallons of water per cycle) than dishwashers purchased before 1994 (10 gallons of water per cycle).

Green Your Lighting. The typical US household spends 6% of its energy budget to lighting. The light bulbs can heat up a room, which is important in summer. Consider energy saving light bulbs to save even more money. Halogen incandescent light bulbs, light emitting diodes or compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive that traditional bulbs, but energy savings will offset the cost of the upgrade. When you leave the room, make sure you turn the lights off. At night, illuminate your patio with solar lights which require no electricity to operate.

Unplug. Most modern electronic devices use electricity even when turned off. Unplug them if not in use. Unplug DVD players, battery chargers, TVs, computers, and kitchen appliances.

Cool Your Roof. Use a material that reflects heat to upgrade your roof or install a cool roof which reflects sunlight. Cool roofs can be made of a sheet covering, reflective paint or reflective shingles. A cool roof will save you energy by lowering the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees. If you are willing to go even further, think about investing in a green roof that has both ecological and economic advantages.

Tip: Choose energy efficient products. If you decide to buy a new appliance, make sure it is a high-performance appliance that has the Energy Star® label. This is particularly important for large appliances including washers, dryers, AC units and refrigerators.

Ask the Professional. Arrange a house energy audit. Hire an energy auditor to check energy efficiency of your home. Air leaks, for instance, reduce energy efficiency by up to 20 percent. The cost of the audit will be offset by savings through increased energy efficiency.

Energy auditor performing a blower-door test. Credit: Zieak

Green Your Yard. Up to 25 percent of household energy use can be reduced by having strategically planted vines, trees or shrubs. Plants that provide shade can cool down your home by 3-6 degrees.

Consider Alternative Sources of Energy. If you are willing to pay more in advance, why not add solar panels or small wind turbines to your house? You will achieve incredible savings and receive a rebate if there are incentives in your state or area.

With these energy saving techniques you will beat the heat during the summer time and keep electricity bills in check.


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Comments

  1. Davinci says:

    I liked your post. Weatherstripping is still the most affordable (and effective) thing to save energy and $$.

  2. Caroline says:

    Protecting the windows was very useful for me. Very affordable as well.

  3. Smith C. says:

    In summer we don’t use the dryer and we use fans and swamp cooler. Installing solar panels is something we would like to do one day.

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