Are You Asking “How Can I Save Electricity this Summer?”
Americans spend more than $29 billion each year on air conditioning. The warm weather comes with a price. You are either paying for higher energy when you crank up the air conditioning or even when your kids are home from school and spend all day on their electronics. With these 10 tips, you can manage your energy wisely and cut down on your bill.
1. Seal it Up
During those hot summer months, the first thought is to blast the air conditioning. Windows, doors, and other parts of your home’s envelope are often leaky, and many buildings don’t have enough insulation in their walls or attic. Identify sources of wasted energy in your household and get a personalized savings plan to lower monthly bills. Sign up with a local contractor for a home energy audit who will give you an idea exactly where you’re wasting the most energy. Then seal the leaks, install weather-stripping, and add more insulation to make sure you enjoy the cool air while lowering your energy bills.
2. Use Your Thermostat Efficiently
Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 Fahrenheit, you save up to 3% of you cooling expenses. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your bill will be. You should avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air condition; it won’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expenses. Lastly, keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78 degree Fahrenheit when you are home and need cooling. Using a programmable thermostat is a great way to make sure the house stays cool and can also save you up to $180 in annual energy costs. If you have a fairly regular schedule, it’s easy to set your thermostat for your home to be warmer when you’re not there, but have it kick on so that it’s cool by the time you walk in the door.
3. Ventilation Strategies
Ceiling fans are great for cooling an entire room, and many homes already come equipped with them. A ceiling fan can help a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler and uses just 10 percent of the energy a central air condition does. Even if you don’t have one, portable fans are inexpensive and readily available at any home goods store. A good fan will allow you to raise your thermostat 4 degree Fahrenheit while maintaining the same level of comfort by circulating the cool air throughout the room. Fans that have the ENERGY STAR label move air 20% more efficiently than other models. In the summer, ceiling fan blades should rotate counterclockwise to push the cool air down to the floor and rotate clockwise to pull cool air up during the winter. Keep in mind that the bathroom fan should be used to remove heat and humidity from your room
4. Regular Maintenance of Equipment
It is important to schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment. Clogged filters will force the air conditioning system to work harder and use more energy, resulting in higher utility bills. Proper HVAC maintenance, which includes having a professional clean coils, fins, air filters and check for proper refrigerant charge, is the best way to ensure that the unit runs efficiently and effectively. This will keep your cooling system running smoothly. Lamps or TV sets should not be placed near the thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your register.
5. Use Your Window Coverings
One of the simplest ways to beat the heat is to keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day when the sun is at its hottest. Sunlight coming through your windows will heat up your home, causing you to spend more on air conditioning. Draw the blinds during the hottest parts of the day and open the windows again at night when it gets cool. This will help keep the room cooler and lower your energy bill. Thermal drapes, cellular shades or blackout curtains will keep the heat outside and the cool air inside. Awnings that can reduce solar heat gain up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. Highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by 45% compared to 33% by medium-colored draperies. Also, keep in mind that trees provide great natural shade which could save you $100-$250 per year in cooling costs.
6. Install Efficient Lighting
After you’ve blocked out the sun with curtains and blinds, you might begin turning on more lights than you normally do. Incandescent bulbs, in reality, turn 90% of the energy they use into heat. Change to compact fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs to reduce the amount of electricity and add less heat. They operate at a lower wattage and produce only half as much heat.
7. Lower Water-Heating Costs
Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Avoid using hot water whenever possible and turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warming setting, 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 90% of the energy used by your washing machine and dishwasher, for example, goes towards heating the water. Because of this, you should wash your laundry on cold or warm and air dry instead of using the dryer. Alternatively, you can wash full loads of clothing and run full dishwashers at night. Same logic applies to showers. Take cooler short showers instead of baths to save energy. Consider installing a tankless water heater to heat water only when needed, as opposed to an entire tank, which sits in your garage, basement or utility space.
8. Postpone the Use of Appliances
Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat. On average, the three major heat-generating appliances are the oven, dishwasher, and dryer. It is best to use these in the evening instead of the hottest part of the day. If possible, skip using the oven and grill outside or use the microwave. Any use of heat-generating appliances will only heat up your home even more.
9. Minimize Electronic Use
Again, minimize activities that generate a lot of heat. Running a computer and using hot devices like curling irons or hair dryers require a good amount of power. Make sure that they’re turned off when they’re not being used.
10. Check With Your Utility
Many utilities or local governments offer rebates or other incentives for energy audits, adding insulation or air sealing, and upgrading your air conditioning equipment. If you’re looking to replace your unit, look for ones that cost less to run and have the energy approved program standards; this can differ depending on your geographic location. Even consider ENERGY STAR room air conditioners. They use around 15% less energy than conventional models. Even better, choose a product recognized as an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient, which signifies you are choosing the top energy-saving product on the market that use the least amount of energy.
Ready for Your Home Energy Audit?
At Frontline Electrical Services we love helping our customers feel safe and secure in their homes. If you are in the Benicia or Fairfield, California area, contact us today at at (800) 945-0268 (here is a map to us) to have your home’s wiring checked or to receive your free home energy consult where our techs analyze your electricity usage and give you the information you need to make sure your home is the most energy-efficient it can be! Remember, if it’s electrical, we do it!