The Heat is On – But Energy Efficiency Can Curb Summer Energy Bills
Washington, D.C., July 21, 2011- While the “Dog Days” of summer may have you down while your energy bills are up, the Alliance to Save Energy advises consumers to take energy efficiency steps around the home that will keep you cooler and more comfortable, while cutting your energy bills.
“Energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest, cleanest way to reduce energy costs and extend our nation’s energy supplies,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “Consumers can use smart energy practices and energy-efficient technologies to save significantly on their energy bills – and be more comfortable in their homes.”
The Alliance has projected the average U.S. household will spend around $2,200 on home energy this year, so using these “no sweat” tips can help you beat the heat:
Keeping Your Cool
- Make sure your AC equipment is in top running order,since cooling puts the greatest stress on your summer energy bills. A professional “tune-up” could save you the cost and misery of a breakdown on the hottest days.
- A programmable thermostat automatically coordinates temperatures in your home with your daily and weekend patterns. This can reduce your bills by up to10% by raising the temperature while your house is empty. And the device “remembers” to turn the air conditioning down when you won’t be home and back up, so you return to a cool, comfortable house.
- Using ceiling fans to circulate air will make you feel cooler and can allow you to raise the temperature setting on your AC thermostat by a few degrees. But be sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room, because fans cool people, not rooms.
- Replacing your 12+-year-old central air conditioning system (CAC) with an ENERGY STAR-qualified model could cut your cooling costs by 30%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And while these products can have a higher purchase price, the cost difference will be paid back over time through lower energy bills, EPA adds.
- Having properly sized CAC systems or window units will ensure optimum performance. EPA says a system that’s too large will not keep your home comfortable due to frequent “on/off” cycling.
- Purchase an AC unit with the highest Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) that you can afford – the higher the SEER level, the more energy efficient the equipment. Current federal appliance standards require a SEER rating of at least 13 on CAC systems.
- Clean or replace CAC system filters monthly – and do the same for window unit filters even more frequently.
Keeping the Heat Outside
- Plug energy leaks with weather stripping and caulking, and be sure your house is properly insulated, to save up to 20% on energy bills.
- Consider investing in energy-efficient windows to save money and increase indoor comfort.
- Curtains and shades on the sunny sides of your home will provide additional relief.
- Chose energy-efficient lighting, since inefficient incandescent light bulbs emit 90% of their energy as heat instead of light. So instead of heating your home with bulbs, buy CFLs and LEDs, which are 75% more energy-efficient than traditional incandescents, saving you money and energy.
Clever in the Kitchen
- Keep the coils clean on your refrigerator to reduce energy bills and extend the life of the appliance. Your fridge runs 24/7 and accounts for almost 10% of your total home electricity bill, so checking the coils located behind or underneath the fridge can save you money.
- Replacing your old fridge from the 1980s with an ENERGY STAR model can save you more than $100 each year. Replacing a 1970s fridge with an ENERGY STAR model can save nearly $200 each year! Use the ENERGY STAR Savings Calculator to find out how much you can save by replacing an old refrigerator.
- Shift energy-intensive household chores to off-peak hours – nights, mornings and weekends – when there is less strain on the power grid. Plus, operating dishwashers and washing machines at these times with full loads will get you the most for your energy dollars.
- ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers and clothes washers will save water and energy. Choose clothes dryers with moisture sensors that reduce drying time.