Summertime Energy Saving Tips

Ah, summertime! We wait all year for lazy days in the sun, warm nights spent with friends, lemonade stands, swimming at the lake and baseball games under the stars.  Unfortunately, all that fun under the sun can come at a hefty price, and it’s usually one realized in your utility bills. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, the average household spends as much as $405/month on electricity during the summer. Here are some handy summertime energy saving tips on how to keep your power bills down when the temperatures go up.

1) Set Some AC Restrictions

Households can have people with conflicting definitions of how “comfort” is defined, and the little sneak visits to the thermostat can have a big impact on your energy bill.  The best idea is to set a hard and firm “daytime” setting during the days when you’re home, a setting for the days you are gone, and a warmer one for when you’re sleeping at night. This will help maintain a steady power supply into the house and has the added benefit of saving “wear and tear” on your air conditioning unit.

2) Invest in a Programmable Thermostat…Stat!

The best way to maintain the temperature controls on your home is to invest in a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is one of the most energy-efficient tools around, and gives you real control over your home’s environment, allowing you to set a schedule for when you want your home to be cool (like turning on an hour before you arrive home from work) and when you can give your AC a bit of a break (like when you and your family is sleeping.) A programmable thermostat can lower your electricity costs by as much as 20%, so you’ll definitely recoup the investment.

3) Clean Your AC Vents and Units

A clean AC unit is an efficient one.  Make sure the coils are cleaned annually, and that the filters are changed regularly.  A clogged filter reduces the air flow and prohibits the unit from performing at optimum levels, so changing the filter annually at a minimum is an easy way to ensure you’re getting the best out your AC, along with reducing your energy costs up to 15%.

4) Ceiling Fans…Your AC’s Best Friend

Using ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner is a great way to maximize your energy efforts.  A ceiling fan at medium speed can lower the room temperature by as much as 5 degrees, allowing your AC to take a break once in awhile.  It also helps to circulate the cool air coming from your vents more efficiently, so you get more “bang for your buck” when your AC is on duty.

5) Use Sun-Blocking Shades and Blinds on Your Windows

Hey’re not just for decoration anymore!  Choosing shades and blinds that offer some sun blocking protection can reduce the heat gain in your home by up to 45% on windows that face North and East (where the sun is at when at its strongest.)  Closing your drapes on the hottest days can also help lower the temperature of a room significantly.

6) Check Your Home’s Insulation

Remember when you would leave your door open as a kid and your parents would say “I’m not paying to heat the outside”? Contrary to what you might have thought as a child, there was some logic behind that.  If your house isn’t properly insulated, the air you’re paying to cool your house can leak out. This is a waste of your time and money. Taking some extra time to caulk cracks and weather-strip your window will help to eliminate the issue. Also, it will ensure that all that cool, expensive air stays in your house where you want it.