The demand for energy fluctuates throughout the year, but it is typically highest in the summer. This is mainly because more people rely on their air conditioners to keep them cool in the hot summer months.
Your air conditioner may keep you comfortable, but it can also drastically increase your energy usage, and thus your monthly utility bills. Fortunately, it is possible to lower your utility bills without sacrificing your comfort. Follow these energy tips for summer:
Adjust the AC Temperature in the Summer
You can lower your energy bills simply by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat in the summer. Everyone wants to be cool, but the cost can be quite high. If you keep your AC below 70 degrees, prepare to pay a hefty price.
Consider, instead, other ways of cooling down during the summer. Keep ice that you can put on your neck to cool down your body temperature. Sometimes, swamp coolers are a viable option. Finally, cold iced tea can be wonderful to stay, and feel, cool.
What is the Best Thermostat Setting for Summer?
The best thermostat setting for summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your thermostat set on this temperature during the hours you are home.
If you plan on leaving your home, turn the temperature up a few degrees before you go. This way, your air conditioner won’t waste energy on cooling down your empty home.
Remember, this is the recommended temperature setting for summer, but you may need to adjust it up or down depending on where you live. You should ideally try to keep the temperature inside your home as close to the outdoor temperature as possible without sacrificing your comfort. The further apart these temperatures are, the more energy your air conditioner will need to consume in order to cool down your home.
Turn On Ceiling Fans
Don’t make your air conditioner do all of the work—use your ceiling fans to cool off, too. Turning your ceiling fans on will allow you to make small adjustments to the temperature on your thermostat. This can lead to significant savings even if you are only able to dial the temperature up by a degree or two.
The amount of money you can save by using your ceiling fans will vary. But one study found that using a ceiling fan reduces a room’s cooling cost by about 8%.
Seal Air Leaks
Tiny holes and cracks around your doors and windows may let warm air sneak into your home in the summer. If this warm air makes it inside, your air conditioner will have to work even harder to keep your home cool.
To prevent this problem, take the time to seal the cracks and openings around your doors and windows. To seal air leaks, use caulk around inoperable windows and weatherstripping around doors and windows that open. It’s easy to apply both caulk and weatherstripping, so you don’t need to hire a professional to complete this energy-efficient home improvement project.
Don’t Use the Oven
Try to avoid using the oven to cook or bake food in the summer. The oven releases a lot of heat, so using it will increase the temperature in your home, which will force your air conditioner to consume more energy to keep you cool.
Make an effort to cook food in the microwave, on the stove, or on the grill outside instead.
If you need to use the oven, keep the door closed while your food cooks. Heat escapes every time you open the oven door to check on your food, so use the oven light instead.
Avoid Heat-Generating Activities
The oven isn’t the only thing that releases a lot of heat in your home. Laptops, desktops, TVs, curling irons, and hair dryers all generate a lot of heat as well. If you want to save energy, try to limit the amount of time you spend using these items this summer.
Let Natural Light In
Lighting accounts for about 5% of your annual energy bill. To save energy, turn your lights off and let sunlight into your home.
This doesn’t mean you should pull back all of the curtains and drapes in your home. In fact, letting too much sunlight in can actually heat up the inside of your home. The key to letting natural light in and keeping heat out is knowing which windows to use.
Do not flood your home with natural light through east-facing or west-facing windows. These windows may provide a lot of light during the morning and evening, respectively, but they also admit a lot of heat into your home.
Pull the drapes or curtains back on your north-facing windows instead. North-facing windows will allow a steady stream of natural light into your home with almost no unwanted heat gain. You can let natural light flow into your home through these windows all day.
Save Energy—And Money—This Summer
Making these changes around your house can help you save energy this summer. This isn’t the only benefit to following these tips, though. By implementing these strategies, you can also drastically lower your monthly utility bills. This means you can beat the summer heat without breaking the bank!