Summer means warm weather, barbeques, water sports, and high energy bills. Electricity use and costs rise every year between June and September. When this time of the year comes around we are often asking ourselves, or being asked, “How do I reduce my home’s energy consumption, especially in the summer?” With these 7 simple changes to your daily habits, you could reduce the amount of energy you and your home consume, while keeping your home comfortable. Here are 7 easy ways you can save energy this summer.
1. Be smart with your thermostat
There’s no denying how good that burst of cool air feels when you step inside an air-conditioned building after being outside. However, that good feeling disappears when you receive that bill at the end of the month. Set the thermostat to at least 75F (the U.S. Department of Energy recommends 78F) when you’re at home and higher overnight or when you’re away.
Those temperatures may sound warm but if you couple that with a few of these other energy saving tips, you won’t break a sweat. Every degree above 78F can save you up to 8% on your utility bill. Programmable or smart thermostats make this a breeze by allowing you to create custom schedules and, if you have a smart thermostat, control the temperature from your phone.
2. Keep it breezy
Double up on the cooling power of the air conditioner by running ceiling or portable fans. Fans do a great job at circulating air so turning on the ceiling fan or placing a fan by an A/C will quickly cool your space. Using fans in your home will allow you to keep the thermostat set at that target 75-78F without feeling overheated. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to rotate counterclockwise to create a cool downdraft.
Once the sun begins to set, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to invite the cooler evening air into your home.
3. Block the light
Sun shining into your windows can increase energy costs and warm your home. Keep curtains and blinds drawn during the hottest parts of the day, typically between noon and 4pm. This blocks the sun and keeps your room cooler, especially if you have southern or western facing windows.
4. Consider LED lighting
Did you know regular incandescent lights can make a room warmer? It’s true! 90% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is released into the air as heat. Instead of using inefficient incandescent bulbs, consider switching to more efficient LED or CFL light bulbs. Not only do these bulbs use less energy to light a space, they don’t release as much heat, keeping your room cooler.
5. Rethink appliance usage
Heat-generating appliances like the oven and stove, dishwasher, and washer and dryer are common culprits in rising energy costs. In fact, the oven and stove can raise your kitchen’s temperature by 10 degrees! Instead of firing up the stove, cook with energy-efficient cooking appliances like the microwave, ary fryer, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. You can even cook outside or take full advantage of warmer weather by ordering in or going out to eat.
Dishwashers tend to be more efficient than handwashing but you can still save a bit more energy. Wait until you have a full load before running the dishwasher and let your dishes air dry instead of using the heated drying option.
You may not be able to outsource the laundry but the same idea applies. Wash full loads of laundry in cold or warm water, air dry when possible or dry right-sized loads for your machine (overstuffed loads take longer to dry). Another drying tip: separate towels and heavier cottons from lighter-weight clothes when drying. Since towels and heavier cottons take longer to dry, your lighter-weight items will be over dried by the end of the cycle.
6. Stay low
Heat rises so if you have a two-story home, consider staying downstairs for most of the day.
7. Keep track of your electronics
Any device or appliance that uses electricity generates heat, albeit some less than others, which can derail your cooling strategy. Keep heat-generating electronics like lamps and televisions away from thermostats. The heat they generate can trick the thermostat’s sensors into thinking the room is warmer than it actually is, causing it to spend more time and energy cooling the room.
While you’re being mindful of where you place these electronics, make sure you turn off any items when not in use.
Knowing how to save energy during the summer months means you can stay cool at home while lowering your monthly utility bills.
If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, we have homes for sale in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We are ready to meet with you! We work with those at every stage in the home-buying process, whether you’re buying your first home or purchasing your second or third. Contact us today to learn more!