10 Tips to Save on Summer Energy
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10 Tips to Save on Summer Energy
We hope you had a relaxing and cool Memorial Day weekend – because the Alliance staff in Washington, D.C. has been sweating during another hot and humid weekend! We’re not the only ones: states across the northeast recently experienced a record hot wave with temperatures in the 80s and 90s, even before June. As we look towards summer, we’re anticipating increased energy costs and blackouts as the country faces extreme weather conditions exacerbated by climate change.
While many of these challenges are beyond our individual control, we can adjust our energy usage. The following tips will help you beat the heat this summer without sacrificing your energy bill.
1. Dial it down.
Minimizing the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperature of your home will help to reduce your energy bill. By turning your thermostat up for eight hours a day 7°-10°F from your go-to setting, you can save as much as 10 percent each year on HVAC costs. Since it can be hard to forgo the AC when it’s hot outside, try making these adjustments each night and whenever you’ll be out of the house for a few hours at a time.
2. Cool down the smart way.
Better yet, what if you never had to touch the dial again? A smart thermostat can be programmed with your customized heating and cooling schedule, and even detect occupancy to conserve energy when you’re absent. Dozens of utilities in the U.S. also offer programs that automatically adjust smart thermostats during peak demand events to prevent blackouts – and offer customers incentives to participate. If a smart thermostat if out of your price range and incentives aren’t available, see if your thermostat can be programmed with your preferred cooling schedule. It doesn’t have to be a smart device to save you money.
3. Avoid cranking up the cold.
A common misconception is that turning your thermostat way down when you first turn it on will cool your space faster. In reality, you’re only going to lower the temperature more than needed, resulting in unnecessary costs.
4. Supplement or substitute with a fan.
Ceiling fans are a great way to cool a room. In fact, circulating the air in a room can allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F while keeping the same level of comfort. You can also consider a floor fan for your workspace – you might be surprised you don’t need the AC as often and a portable fan uses about a sixth of the amount of energy as AC.
5. Change and clean filters.
Regularly cleaning and replacing your cooling units’ filters is the quickest way to save energy while also cooling your home. Doing so can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent.
6. Seal to keep the cool air in.
An affordable purchase that will quickly recuperate cost through energy savings is caulk and weatherstripping for windows. As much as one third of heat loss occurs through windows and doors, so set aside a few minutes for a DIY project and close up any leaks with your choice of sealing solution. If you’re a renter, don’t worry – use temporary caulking that can be peeled off when no longer needed.
7. Draw your curtains to keep the hot sun out.
Summer means longer days and increased sunlight. During the day, draw your curtains or drapes closed to keep out the heat from the sun. While the amount of savings will depend on factors like the fabric weave and length of curtains, the Department of Energy estimates that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.
8. It’s grill season! Avoid the oven when possible.
Avoid using the oven on hot days, as your air conditioning will have to go into overdrive to counteract all the heat produced. Cook on the stove, or better yet: grill outside. And while we’re on the subject, here are some delicious no-bake cookie recipes – no oven necessary.
9. Prep before leaving home for vacation.
Many families are returning to travel for the first time this summer. If you’re leaving your home for an extended period, make sure to unplug all devices, including computers, televisions, game consoles, coffee makers, toasters, lamps, and microwaves. Even when powered down, many appliances and electronics – nicknamed “energy vampires” – continue to use energy and can waste more than $250 per year in electricity. Consider using timers on your lights and a smart power strip to make powering down easier.
10. If you’re taking a road trip, prime your vehicle for maximum efficiency.
Make sure your vacation vehicle is ready to go! Simple tricks like keeping tires properly inflated, avoiding speeding, and using cruise control will save you money at the pump. For more ideas, check out our blog on maximizing fuel efficiency.
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