The summer heat is here! Are you bracing yourself for higher bills from running your air conditioner (AC)? Relax—you can turn to energy efficiency for help! Small home upgrades and a few changes in how you approach hot weather can save you money and keep your family comfortable all summer long.
Set it and forget it.
A smart or programmable thermostat can keep your home cool when you need it. Upgrading your thermostat will pay off in winter, too. Most U.S. households can save up to $180 in annual energy costs.
Feel the breeze.
If you use a fan and air conditioner simultaneously, you can raise your thermostat setting by four degrees yet keep the same level of comfort you felt on the cooler setting. Set your ceiling fan’s blades to spin counterclockwise to create a cool breeze. Remember that fans cool people but not rooms. Use fans only in rooms that are occupied.
Darker is better.
Your window curtains, shades and blinds can be a great ally against summer rays. To help your home stay cool, keep window coverings closed in the daytime when the sun is brightest and hottest. If your windows are older or you get a lot of direct sun, closing shades or curtains matters even more.
Light the way.
Still have old incandescent bulbs? They lose 90% of their energy as heat. By replacing just five of these bulbs with LEDs, you can save up to $100 per year in energy costs. Avoid the extra bulb heat that adds to your cooling costs, too!
Consider your timing.
Heat-producing tasks such as drying laundry, using a dishwasher, and cooking can make your AC work harder. If you can time these chores for a cool part of the day, you will help keep energy costs down and your living space more comfortable.
Look for the ENERGY STAR™.
About 6% of the average U.S. household’s energy use goes to space cooling. When buying an AC or other appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label, which signifies a product is among the most efficient on the market. Choose the smallest unit appropriate for the size of your living space to get the best value. Check with your local utility to see if they offer rebates and/or discounts on ENERGY STAR programmable or smart thermostats, LED bulbs, and cooling equipment.
Update/Upgrade your Cooling
Is it time to update your HVAC unit or are you thinking of buying an air conditioner? Consider an environmentally friendly heat pump instead, which can cool and heat your home. Typical AC units use a lot of energy, which increases utility bills and contributes to climate change. Heat pumps cool your home by removing unwanted heat and “pumping” it outdoors, but unlike regular ACs, heat pumps can also provide heating when it’s cold out. They heat more sustainably since they don’t “create” heat by burning fuels—rather, they “move” heat from cold outdoors to warm indoors. In fact, heat pumps can be up to five times more efficient than heating by burning fossil fuels. That means they can keep you cool in the summer and use less energy to save you money on your heating bills in the winter.
Taste the Savings
Consider upgrading to an induction stove or cooktop to cook more efficiently. When cooking with a gas or electric stovetop, energy is used to heat a burner, and then that heat transfers from the burner to a pot or pan. Induction uses electric currents to directly heat pots and pans, making them three times more efficient than gas stove tops. Induction is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way to cook, saving you money by not wasting energy as excess heat. Since it is the pan itself that is the source of heat, the cooktop stays cool to the touch. With less heat released into the surrounding air, your kitchen will also stay much cooler while cooking in the summer.
Join Energy Efficiency Day 2022. We invite you to join hundreds of other people and organizations in becoming an official supporter of this annual public awareness event and to check out www.energyefficiencyday.org for more energy-saving tips.