How to keep your summer energy costs under control
For the energy-efficient daredevil
For those of you who will do pretty much anything to keep the energy bill down, these tips are just for you. Be warned, some of these might be at the expense of a little comfort and convenience, though!
1. Set your thermostat as high as you can possibly stand it
The less of a difference there is between the outside temperature and the temperature inside the home, the cheaper your overall cooling cost will be.
2. Consider investing in a “smart” thermostat
Programmable thermostats have been proven to significantly save money and energy. These devices are capable of tracking what rooms are in use, allocating the cooler air there and not wasting it on empty areas of the house.
The percentage of the average household's energy use that goes to space cooling.
2/3 of all U.S. homes have air conditioners.
The amount it costs homeowners every year to power their air conditioners.
3. Unplug appliances that are not in use
Television sets, radios, lamps, computers, and similar devices are culprits that can be referred to as “vampire power” because they are constantly sucking power out of outlets, even when they are not directly in use. Consider unplugging or investing in a smart strip, which cuts the flow to these devices when they are not in use. One exception to this is running an overhead fan, which is cheaper than utilizing the thermostat.
4. Minimize heat-generating activities
Running a computer, using the oven, even using a hair dryer can add extra heat in your home. If activities like these must be done, try to do them sparingly, or at cooler points in the day.
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5. Turn down your water heater’s temperature
Water heating accounts for roughly 18% of your home’s energy consumption. Turning down the water heater to around 120 degrees will help you save some of this energy.
6. Ask a Commercial Service technician to inspect your air conditioning system
Even the most extreme summer saving tips will not do much good if your air conditioning unit is old and/or ineffective. Energy.gov has provided this infographic that explains why it is necessary to have a properly functioning AC unit. By talking with Commercial Service, you can also learn how to go about finding one that can work with the budget and needs your family has.
For the energy-efficient moderate
If your family cannot sacrifice the comfort of a cool home or does not want to constantly unplug devices, there are still more things you can do to make an impact.
7. Plug up any holes
For the same reason you caulk and seal gaps around the home in the winter, you should do this in the summer as well; letting air escape can be an avoided expense. A trained Commercial Service technician is able to assist you with insulating your home to keep the cool air in. If you use a window-unit air conditioner, make sure it is placed snugly in its opening. The DOE recommends that window units have their own electrical circuits to reduce the risk of overloading the system. The agency estimates that creating a proper "thermal boundary" around your home can shave up to 20 percent off heating and cooling costs. Shutting the doors and vents of unused rooms can also lighten the load of your air conditioning unit.
8. Close the shades and change the lights
Anything that keeps the sun from coming in and creating a greenhouse effect will make it easier for your air conditioning unit to maintain cooler temperatures. For the longer term, consider planting leafy trees or foliage that will give your home more coverage from the sun. When it comes to light inside of your home, make sure all of your light bulbs are compact fluorescents; doing so will save electricity and will reduce heat generation.
9. Keep the filters clean
It is vital to make sure the air conditioning filters are cleaned once a month, minimum. This can be as simple as running them under some water and letting them dry, or if you would prefer not to deal with them, call a Commercial Service technician for assistance.
10. Use fans
It seems like a blatantly obvious suggestion, but by installing and using ceiling fans, you should be able to turn your thermostat up about 5 degrees and still be comfortable. If you are curious about ceiling fans, visit Energy Star’s website to learn more.
Natural ventilation relies on the wind to create a “chimney effect” to cool a home. A simple natural ventilation strategy is opening windows to create a cross-wise breeze.
Fans circulate air in a room, creating a wind chill effect that makes occupants more comfortable. Fans for cooling come in a variety of options, including ceiling, table, floor and wall-mounted.
Whole house fans pull air in through windows and exhaust it through a home’s attic and roof. To ensure proper sizing and safety, professionals should install whole house fans.
11. Upgrade your system
If you are buying major appliances, such as a dryer, dishwasher, or even televisions, do not forget to take energy efficiency into account. The Energy Department's Energy Star rating helps consumers navigate those purchase decisions, so look for products with the label. If purchasing a completely new air conditioning unit is not in the cards right now, a Commercial Service technician can still suggest upgrades to your system that will still make a difference.