When you pay attention to ways of saving energy in your home during the summer months, you will stay cooler in your home, you will be doing your part in reducing your carbon footprint, and your pocketbook will benefit.
Fortunately, many simple ways exist, and they all can really make a big difference! Here are some ideas to reduce your use of energy during the hot summer season.
- Wash laundry in the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler outside –
This is particularly recommended if you plan to run the dryer. Otherwise, running it during the day will add unwanted heat to your home, and result in the air conditioner needing to run more. Also, be sure to clean the lint trap after every use to ensure the dryer runs more efficiently. If you do plan to use your dryer, another tip is not to throw your clothes into the dryer all balled up. Instead, be sure to shake them out, as this will make drying faster. An alternate option is to use a clothesline for drying.
- Open your windows when it cools down –
This is not always an option in warmer, humid climates. However, if you live where it cools down in the evenings and overnight, you can turn off your air conditioning unit then, and open the windows to let in the natural cool air. Open windows on opposite sides of the house to create a cross-breeze.
- Close your windows in the morning –
If your windows were open during the night to allow the hot air out and the cool air in, make sure you close them all in the morning before the outside air gets hotter than the air inside your home.
- Turn up the thermostat on your air conditioner –
This is common knowledge, but how much should you aim for? There is a bit of variation, but the general consensus or recommendation is that you set the thermostat to at least 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) when you are home, and to 85 Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) when you are not home. The less difference that there is between the outside and inside of your home, the more cost and energy savings there will be. In fact, for each degree you don’t turn up your thermostat in the summer, you can save up to 7% in the energy needed to run the air conditioning unit, which adds up to savings on your utility bills too! In addition to using programmable thermostats, you can also get WiFi thermostats so that you can control your air conditioner from remote locations.
- Keep warm appliances away from your thermostat –
Televisions or lamps located close to the thermostat will result in your air conditioning running more than necessary as it will sense the heat coming off of these devices.
- Consider installing ceiling fans or using portable fans –
Use of ceiling fans or portable fans in combination with air conditioning allows you to adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature, and still remain comfortable. Be sure to run ceiling fans in the counterclockwise direction to feel the cooling effect. In addition, turn all fans off when you leave the room as they are not actually cooling the temperature of the room; they are only making you feel cooled from the air movement when you are in the room. Even though fans take energy, they don’t use as much as air conditioning units do.
- Make sure your central air conditioner is in the shade –
When installing a central air conditioning unit, you want to put it in the shade, and avoid having it in direct sunlight such as on the south or west sides of your house. If needed, plant a shrub to give it shade, but make sure that the shrub is not too close as this will prevent proper ventilation of the unit. The less direct sunlight on your air conditioner, the less power it takes to cool the interior of your home. This can save up to 10% in energy costs.
- Use CFL’s or LED’s –
Incandescent bulbs use more energy, plus they emit heat and warm up the room.
- Do not use the heater portion of your dishwasher –
Instead, open the door after the wash to allow air drying. However, monitor for the potential for mold growth. In that case, you may want to alternate air drying with use of the heat in the dishwasher. If using the heat in the dishwasher for drying, do so during the time of day when it is most cool outside.
- Avoid use of the stove and oven –
Instead, use your microwave, which will keep your home cooler and will use up to 2/3 less energy than your stove. Use your outdoor grill, or use a crockpot. If you must bake, do it in the evening when it has cooled, and preferably when your windows of your home are open and the air conditioning unit can be turned off. In addition, if you must use the oven, be sure to use it for baking multiple items at once. It takes the same amount of energy to bake four items as it does one!
If you need to use the stove, match the size of the pot to the size of the element. Electric kettles use 40% less energy than stove-top kettles, and create less heat.
- You do not need to run the pool pump day and night –
Pool pumps take up a lot of energy, and do not need to be run 24 hours/day. The main purpose of your pump is to help circulate the water, and keep your pool clean and free of developing algae (in conjunction with the use of algaecide and chlorine). On average, you only need to run your pool pump about eight hours per day. There are factors that can affect this, of course, such as how hot the weather is, the balance of your pool chemicals, and the size of your pool.
- Use bathroom and kitchen fans as little as possible –
When your air conditioning unit is on, you want to reduce the use of bathroom and kitchen fans as they cause cooled conditioned air to be removed from your home.