As Heat Wave Ushers In Summer, Energy Efficiency Can Cut Cost of Staying Cool
As summer officially begins with a fierce heat wave over much of the country, the Alliance to Save Energy provides energy efficiency tips that can lower home energy bills even as the temperature soars outside.
“Simple energy efficiency steps can make your home more comfortable while also easing the strain on your budget,” says Alliance President Kateri Callahan.
The Alliance has projected that the average U.S. household will spend around $2,100 on home energy this year, but 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.
- Replacing your 12+-year-old central air conditioning system (CAC) with an ENERGY STAR-qualified model could cut your cooling costs by as much as 30%. And while these products can have a higher purchase price, the cost difference will be paid back over time through lower energy bills.
- Having properly sized CAC systems or window units will ensure optimum performance. 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 check window unit filters even more frequently.
- A programmable thermostat automatically coordinates temperatures in your home with your daily and weekend patterns to reduce your bills up to 10%. Be sure to program the device properly to raise the temperature while your house is empty and lower it again shortly before you return – to a cool, comfortable, energy-saving home.
- Using ceiling fans to circulate air will make you feel cooler and can allow you to raise the temperature setting on your AC by a few degrees. But be sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room, because fans cool people, not rooms.
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 up to 30% on home energy bills while increasing indoor comfort.
- Curtains and shades on the sunny sides of your home will provide additional relief.
- Choose energy-efficient lighting, since inefficient incandescent light bulbs waste 90% of their energy as heat instead of light. Instead, choose efficient incandescents that use halogen technology, CFLs and LEDs, which are 25-75% more energy-efficient than traditional incandescents.
Clever in the Kitchen
- Clean the coils on your refrigerator regularly 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 it’s really worth it!
- Replacing your old refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR model – which uses 20% less energy than non-labeled models – to cut your energy bills by $165 over the lifetime of your fridge. 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 – to put less strain on the power grid and increase power supply reliability. And be sure to run dishwashers and washing machines with full loads.
- ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers and clothes washers save water, as well as energy. Choose clothes dryers with moisture sensors that reduce drying time.
Learn More with Alliance Videos
- Watch videos providing energy efficiency tips from the collaboration between the Alliance to Save Energy and energyNOW!
- Learn all about energy-efficient lighting, too, from Alliance videos.