The temperatures are heating up which means we are all starting to blast our air conditioners a little more strongly. You know how this ends: high energy bills. But there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your energy costs this summer. Below are the top ten ways to cut your summer home energy costs without servicing your air conditioner.
#1 – Switch to energy efficient appliances. If it’s time for you to upgrade one of your appliances, and then make sure you look for one with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label before you swipe your credit card. They might cost a little bit more upfront, but your bills will be lower immediately.
#2 – Change your old bulbs out for CFLs. If you have not made this switch already, then today is the day to finally do it. A compact fluorescent light bulb, according to Energy Star, “will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 time s longer than an incandescent bulb.”
#3 – Program your thermostat. A timer on your thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature for you when you leave the house in the morning and come home in the evening. It can save you up to 15 percent in heating and cooling costs.
#4 – Lower your shades. Keeping your shades closed will keep heat out of the room, so while it’s okay to keep them up for the natural light if you are in the room, keep them closed when you are not.
#5 – Take shorter, cooler showers. In the summer, we shower more frequently because we get so dirty so quickly. According to sustainablog.org, “Hot water heating is one of the major uses of energy in any home. Showers are the way to go– and keep ‘em short. Baths use much more water and heat than do baths (unless you’re taking 30 minute showers!).”
#6 – Seal your home’s air leaks. Air leaks are common in homes, especially older ones. You should look for any small cracks and gaps where your cool air will leak outside and the warm outdoor air will leak in. According to Energy Star, improving insulation in combination with sealing leaks can save homeowners up to 10 percent on their yearly energy costs. Start with your windows and doors where those cracks and gaps are most common.
#7 – Use less water. Lower your water bills by cutting your water usage overall. The U.S. Department of Energy says that water heating is the third highest energy consuming household function. In addition to taking quicker showers, also pay attention to how much you are using to do the dishes, run the washing machine, etc. Always fill up the sink basin with soapy water and only do laundry when you have full loads.
#8 – Add some greenery to your home. Plants in your house have a lot of benefits. They clear the air, they look nice, and they also cut your energy bills. Mother Earth News reported that, “The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which operates a program that gives free trees to its customers, says that properly placed tress can cut your summer electric bill by up to 40 percent. Energy savings from a tree varies greatly depending on its size and location in relation to your house. Planting shrubs and bushes around your home can improve insulation in the summer and winter. DOE says that if they are planted 1 foot away from your home, they create a dead airspace that shields against cold or hot outdoor temperatures.”
#9 – Use solar power. There are a number of different ways to bring solar power into your home. You can consult with a solar panel professional to find out if your roof is a good spot for solar panels. Or you can take less drastic steps by purchasing a solar oven or installing solar screens on your windows. There are a lot of different solar products on the market so do your homework to find what suits your needs best.
#10 – Air dry your clothes and dishes. Running the dryer uses a lot of energy! So does using a dishwasher. Instead of using these energy consuming appliances, try air drying your clothes and dishes. It is a zero energy way to dry your things, saving you a lot of money on your energy costs.
Matt Zajechowski writes about for Controlled Comfort Heating & Cooling.