7 Ways to Cut Energy Costs in the Summer
Every summer the temperatures seem to get hotter and hotter, and every year, electric bills go higher and higher. While you can’t control the rates you’re charged or how hot it is outside, you do have some control over how much energy your home uses. To cut your costs, here are a few changes you can make around your home.
1. Keep Cold Air In
As hot air seeps into your home and cold air escapes, your air conditioner has to work even harder, driving your energy costs up.
- Seal all the cracks and holes around doorways and windows. Buy foam or caulk from a home improvement store to get the job done.
- Add more insulation to your attic. Keeping your attic cooler helps keep your entire home cooler so more insulation will make a big difference.
- Keep the drapes, shades, or blinds closed on windows when the sun is beating down. As the windows heat up, so does the room, which causes your AC to work harder.
2. Take Care of Your HVAC System
In the summer, your air conditioner works overtime. Help it run as efficiently as possible to use less energy.
- Change your filters every 30 to 90 days. When you need to change it depends on the type of filter and how hard your AC has been working. In the summer, it’s not unusual to change filters once a month.
- Program your thermostat. Smart thermostats let you control them from your phone, but even basic ones let you set what time it comes on or turns off.
- Bump up the temperature by a degree or two. If you truly feel hot even in 72-degree temperatures, you may want to invest in a small fan for personal use. Changing the setting on your thermostat by even a small amount will make a big difference in your energy costs.
3. Change Kitchen and Bath Habits
Both the kitchen and bathroom are bigger sources of energy drains than we realize.
- Try taking colder showers. If everyone in your home uses a little less hot water with each bath or shower, the savings will add up by the end of the month.
- Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees. The default is usually a bit higher which increases your energy use.
- Use your oven less to avoid heating up the kitchen. Your microwave, a toaster oven, or the grill outside are options.
- Wash full loads of dishes in your dishwasher instead of several small loads over the week.
- Skip the dry cycle on the dishwasher and let them air dry or dry them by hand to save energy.
4. Do Laundry More Efficiently
Laundry is a big consumer of energy and water. Becoming more efficient will save on both.
- Wash only full loads of clothes as often as possible.
- Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot.
5. Eliminate Energy Wasters
Some things in our homes are so common and ubiquitous that we don’t even think about them. But turning them off or unplugging could make a big difference.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room. They’re meant to circulate the air to cool people, not the room. If no one is there, it’s not necessary.
- Unplug your electronics and appliances (where appropriate) when not in use. Just turning them off isn’t enough. Low levels of constant electricity are still being used.
6. Consider a Few Upgrades
Where it makes sense to do and when it fits in your budget, upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances and elements in your home to save big.
- Replace old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They’re more affordable than ever, use less energy, and last for years.
- Replace your old HVAC unit. If it’s 10 or more years old, anything you get will be more efficient. Try not to wait until it dies to get a new one -- that usually happens right when you need it most.
- Install new windows. Choose the most efficient and strongest (against hurricane winds) that you can afford. It’ll help keep hot air out and cold air in during the summer months.
- Upgrade to energy efficient appliances -- dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, ovens, and stoves.
7. Think About Going Solar
Not everyone can afford solar panels or lives in a home where they can be installed. But if it’s an option for you, it may be worth considering. The initial cost is high, but over the years, the reduced electric bills and the added value to your home will help you recoup your initial investment. When you’re ready to sell, solar panels can be a great selling point for green buyers.
Now keep in mind, you don’t have to do everything on this list all at once. Start with the small, easy fixes. Over time, add more changes and you'll start to see a real difference in your energy costs. Big and small, it all adds up.
Ready to buy a more energy-efficient home? Want to sell your house? Contact us today!
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