Summer is a highly-anticipated season, at least in regions that experience all the four seasons. But the warm weather also comes with its challenges, especially with regards to your monthly energy bills. The U.S Energy Information Administration observes that the average household spent $405 on electricity during the summer of 2015 alone!
To most people, cooling down a home during summer means investing in a powerful HVAC system. While HVAC units are also efficient at mediating the excruciating summer heat, they’re known for jacking up your energy bills.
But it’s reassuring to know that there are a couple of simple yet effective tips. Tips that you can also implement to keep your energy bills down during summer. Some of those tips shall be the focus of this post.
1. Invest In ENERGY STAR Appliances
The ENERGY STAR is a certification issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on electric appliances that meet the minimum energy-efficiency standard set by the U.S government.
An ENERGY STAR-certified AC can save you up to 15% on monthly electricity bills compared to non-certified appliances.
2. Turn Off Your AC When Not In Use
Turning off your air conditioner when not in use is another crucial tip to implement if you care about keeping your summer energy bills down. The AC should be off as soon as night falls and whenever you leave the house.
In addition, you might also consider adjusting the temperature of your AC. Especially whenever you’re out of the house. Ideally, you should set the thermostat to between 78°F and 80°F. According to experts, you can save between 4 and 8 percent on cooling for every degree that you raise your thermostat.
3. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Using a programmable thermostat lowers your monthly summer energy bills by allowing you to program your house depending on your cooling needs. You can set your thermostat to adjust the temperature of the house accordingly when you’re in and out, as well as when you’re asleep.
Besides helping you to lower energy bills during summer, programmable thermostats also save you the inconvenience of having to manually adjust the thermostat. That allows you to focus on your other equally-demanding tasks.
4. Dry Your Clothes Outside
This is an excellent way of taking advantage of the summer heat while still ensuring you keep your monthly energy bills down. As soon as the clothes are out of the washing machine, take them out and dry them on the clothing line as opposed to using your electric dryer.
Using your cloth dryer will only increase the temperature of the house even further. As a result, your HVAC systems will work overtime to cool the house down, which reflects negatively on monthly electricity bills.
5. Increase Thermal Mass Indoors
A higher thermal mass inside your house translates to higher thermal inertia. In lay terms, the higher the number of items inside the house, the more the cool they absorb.
And on the hottest day, these items will begin to radiate the cool, thereby complementing the efforts of your HVAC unit. So, if you have more space inside your house, bring in as many items as you can, focusing on the heavier ones.
6. Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation
Even at the height of summer, there will always be days when the weather is a bit favorable. If the outside feels cooler than the inside, you might consider opening your windows. That will bring in cooler air inside and expel warmer air out of your house.
Opening your window blinds will also eliminate electricity usage, as you then benefit from the natural light. The more light bulbs you turn off, the more you save on electricity.
7. Block the Sun
This will depend on the position of your windows. Houses that are built with east-facing windows are usually the worst hit during summer. However, investing in heavy blinds can make all the difference.
For windows that receive a lot of sun exposure, ensure the blinds are pulled down and closed to minimize the heat that comes into the house.
8. Check Your Home’s Insulation
Proper home insulation plays a crucial role in lowering your summer energy bills. To ensure your home is properly-insulated check for cracks and openings in the walls, ceiling, attic, windows, and doors. These openings allow hot air from the outside to enter your house and mix with the conditioned air inside. As a result, your air conditioners have to run longer than they should to cool the house, which translates to high electricity bills.
Insulating your house is a home renovation project that’s best undertaken before summer. And there are several ways to go about it, two of the main ones include caulking and weather-stripping. Your best bet is to hire a professional home renovation technician who will examine the insulation status of your house and determine the right air-sealing technique to apply.
9. Spend More Time Outdoors
This is a no-brainer. The more time you spend out of the house, the less cooling you’ll require. Even if you are a stay-at-home mum, there are several things you can do to ensure you are outdoors during the hottest part of the day.
For instance you could choose to go shopping around these hours, or take your pet for a walk. You might also pursue your outdoor hobbies, such as gardening and swimming. And whenever you are out of the house, remember to turn off the heater or adjust the thermostat accordingly.
10. Clean Your AC Vents and Units
Over time, AC vents get clogged with dust and debris. Cleaning them regularly can go a long way in enhancing the efficiency of your air conditioners, making the appliances function optimally. Not only the vents, but you should also clean filters, fins, and coils of the entire AC unit. You can also extend the same to your refrigerator and other appliances that have vents, fins, and filters.
As you clean the components, also check the ones that require replacing and have them replaced. Most importantly, remember that cleaning and servicing your AC system shouldn’t be restricted to summer. Instead, your air conditioner should have a consistent care and maintenance plan to optimize its functioning while reducing breakdowns.
Yes There goes our guide on how to keep energy bills down during summer. Most of the tips we’ve highlighted here are intended to complement the efforts of your normal HVAC system.
Therefore,the most important thing to do is to ensure your AC units are clean and regularly serviced.