How awesome is it to walk through the front door after a long, hot, grueling drive home from work in traffic and feel the blast of the air conditioner greet you at the front door. You take off your shoes and collapse on the living room sofa. You’re the first one home today and the sofa feels brand new all over again, cold and refreshing. Ahhh, heavenly! Until you get your first energy bill since the hot weather rolled in and realize how much it really cost to cool your home. It almost feels as if you’re working just to put it all towards the utility bill You begin to think of ways to still keep cool without having to give an arm and leg to utility bills.
Most homeowners experience the same challenges during inclement weather months, whether it’s heating or cooling, it understandable to want to save your hard earned dollars wherever you can. Try these 5 tips that will help you consume less energy this summer so you spend more on creating memories this summer with your friends and family:
1. Master the thermostat
It’s the thermostat that controls how cool you want your home to be this summer. Bear in mind, that every degree you set your thermostat above 72 will generally cost an extra 3% on your energy bill. Set your thermostat to 76 degrees should be a good balance of cost and comfort for most households or even better, set your thermostat to as high as your comfort level will allow.
Another good tip is to turn up your thermostat when you leave the home and if it’s not too hot, turn it off all together. A smart thermostat like The Nest can actually be programmed and adapt to your personal preferences and lifestyle. A smart thermostat can certainly provide you better control on your home’s climate from your smartphone, even while you’re away from your home. Which in turn will help you gain better control on how much you’re spending on your energy bills each month.
2. Give your home ample shade from the sun during the day
Natural light is always a home’s best accessory, but during days with extreme an heat warning, having sun beaming into a room is probably not the best idea. Any sunlight coming through your windows will heat up your home, so on really hot days, draw your blinds and window treatments to provide better shade in the room. This way, your air conditioner won’t be working double time to try to cool your home. If you have heavy window treatments installed, try switching them for lighting, more breathable fabrics in the summer. Medium-coloured draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.
Some people may find that window films will work best for them although they do require added maintenance and cleaning. Window films help block against solar heat gain and protect against glare and ultraviolet exposure.
3. Switch to LED lighting
If you haven’t made the switch from old conventional incandescent to LED bulbs, then now would be a good time especially if your end goal is to save money on your energy bills. LED bulbs are far more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, they are environmentally friendly, and last far longer. So how much money do LED bulbs actually save you? Here’s an example: If you run a single incandescent bulb 5 hours a day for two years, it will cost you around $32 (depending on your energy rates). Most of that money is spent on electricity. If you run a single LED bulb 5 hours a day for two years, it will cost you $12.
4. Take advantage of barbeque season
The stove is a major appliance that consumes a good amount of energy while in use. Not only that, using the stove will add more heat to the home on an already hot summer day. Why not enjoy cooking outdoors and use your barbeque more often during nice summer days. Not only will you save on energy costs, but you’ll keep the heat where it belongs, outdoors!
5. Keep your home easy breezy
Some people have their reservations about plugging in too many electronics because of energy consumption. However, when it comes to cooling your home fans work wonderfully to provide a cooling breeze and they will not consume as much energy as your air conditioner unit. Ceiling fans are a great investment and have evolutionized into some very smooth and contemporary designs with remote controls and LED lighting. Did you know? A ceiling fan can lower the feel of a room’s temperature by 8 degrees, which means you can raise the thermostat and save on air conditioning bills. A ceiling fan doesn’t actually emit cool air, but it does make you feel cooler because of the breeze that passes through the room.
There are other energy-savings tips you can practice all year round, not just in the summer, such as washing your clothes in cold water. Did you know 90% of the energy consumed while doing laundry is the energy used to heat the water. If you wash you clothes with cold water, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed per cycle. It’s also an eco-friendly choice.
Also check that your windows and doors are properly sealed to reduce the amount of cool air that can leak out of your home. If your windows and doors are no longer working to keep cool air in during the summer and vice versa in the winter, then it may be time to consider replacement windows and doors. High-quality windows and doors can drastically improve your home’s climate by better controlling heat and cooling loss as well as providing better protection against harmful UV rays. Find a window and door professional in your area who can provide your more information on energy-efficient windows and how they may benefit your home.