All of you who love to open your energy bill and see a ridiculous increase in your monthly costs, please raise your hand. We didn’t think so. Every summer, millions of Americans experience just that, muttering profanities under their breath, staring in disbelief, trying to decipher kilowatt hours and their summer energy costs. Following those profanities, they consider implementing a household ban: no soul shall touch the air conditioner or the fan, we will roast alive instead.
Such drastic measures aren’t necessary: there are quite a few ways to reduce summer energy costs and save your wallet from the perils of ballooning energy bills. Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption in general, or you simply want to lend Mother Earth a helping hand, Stadtler is here to help.
For many climates, running your air conditioning throughout the evening just isn’t necessary: the cool nighttime air and lack of sun can do wonders for naturally cooling your home. Turn off your AC and open your windows at night, and, in the morning, shut your windows and drapes to trap the cool air already circulating within.
Furthermore, you can install window treatments or awnings to shade your windows, a strategy that will not only provide a little decorating pop but add some tremendous shading power. Some awnings have been proven to reduce solar heat by an astonishing 65-75%! Compared to older models, today’s awnings are much more efficient and last substantially longer. Opt for units that are water repellent, mold resistant, and light-colored—lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight than their darker counterparts. Ensure that your selection has proper ventilation in the form of eyelets or grommets so that air can flow through. As well, look for models that roll up or retract in the winter so you can capture sunlight to warm your home when you need it.
Window leaks are more common than you would imagine, especially if you have older windows. Search for leaks and seal them ( conversely, this will be of great importance as you seek to heat your home come winter). Make sure to purchase a door stopper to line the bottom of any doors may that leak air.
Closing blinds and drapes is an excellent technique for avoiding the direct sunlight that turns homes into broilers. If you can stand a little summer darkness, awesome: draw your blinds and drapes. If you must bask in daylight, try drawing the blinds and closing curtains in rooms that are not being used. This action alone is perfect for countering the sun’s greenhouse effect.
While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s recommended that you set your AC to 78 degrees during the summer months (if you can stand it, set it a bit higher). The goal is to create the least amount of difference between the soaring outside temperatures and your home’s interior, the result being lower energy bills from an AC unit that isn’t working overtime to cool your home. This little technique alone can amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year. When you’re more interested in maximizing savings as opposed to turning your home into a meat locker, this strategy will give you the most bang for your energy saving buck.
But how often do you clean your air conditioner? Are you growing a two-inch thick layer of dust over your filter, forcing your unit to work harder as a result? Be sure to clean your unit’s filter at least once a month to keep it running at optimum levels.
When using window AC units, check for leakage around the window units and plug accordingly, as you don’t want your precious cool air escaping outside.
And of course, there’s no reason to cool rooms that aren’t being used, which include empty guest rooms and vacant bedrooms. Close vents, close doors, let your unused rooms cook.
During the summer months, you’re far more likely to enjoy a cool shower, especially after spending a day in the blistering summer heat. Consider turning down the heat on your water heater during the summer months to a range of 115 to 120 degrees, another significant contribution to reducing your summer energy bills.
Put Your Ceiling Fan To Work
Is it always necessary to run your air conditioner? Probably not. Instead, your ceiling fan can put in some serious work when it comes to keeping your home cool, especially when paired with cooler evening air. One of the most important things that people forget during the summer months is the following: switch your fans so they rotate in a counter-clockwise movement, which forces cool air downward. The counterclockwise direction is optimal for the summer months, while the opposite is optimal for cooler seasons. As well, there’s no need to have your fan running with no one benefitting from it. If you’re the last person out of the room, be sure to turn the fan off.
If you’re baking casseroles and cupcakes in the summer, your house is going to feel like the Mojave. Cooking warms your home significantly in the summer. But one must eat, of course. Instead of running the oven or stove, grill outside, a delicious alternative where you can cook a substantial amount food at one time (great for freezing and eating throughout the week) without turning the whole house into a sauna.
Unplug and Save
If you want to save a little extra on your summer energy bills, unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used on a regular basis. These sleeping electronics contribute significantly to your energy costs over the summer through a process called “phantom load”—engery usage during non-use. If you’re using surge protectors, flick off the power to several unused items with the press of a button.
Appliances & Technology
Most modern technology is Energy Star certified, but you may have some pieces in your home that are not. Consider upgrading the usual suspects—refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.— to ensure that they adhere to the EPA’s energy efficiency guidelines. This action is not only great for keeping your costs down, but also for the environment.
Secondly, manually managing your thermostat on a daily basis is completely old school. If possible, upgrade to a programmable unit that will take the repetition and guesswork from the equation and help you put your energy saving techniques on autopilot.
And don’t forget the light bulbs! If you haven’t already, replace your current fleet of light bulbs with Energy Star rated models. Also, fluorescent lights are known to generate less heat than other model bulbs.
Together, these energy and cost-reducing tactics will help reduce your summer energy costs and save you from the weak knees and dizziness resulting from opening a massive power bill. When you’ve leveraged all of these summer energy hacks and it comes time to do some serious cooling work, be sure to remember your friends at Stadler Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Illinois community’s heating, cooling, and air quality needs for decades and would love the opportunity to help you tackle the summer heat.