Ready to enjoy summertime without having to worry about your energy bill? These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bill.
Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.
The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.
In This Article:
1. Turn your thermostat up.
During warm weather, set your thermostat as high as possible, given health and comfort considerations and drink plenty of fluids. Turn thermostats to78 degrees when at home; 85 degrees when away. Use fans to circulate cool air.
2. Close your drapes or shades.
Windows are one of the largest sources of heat gain in your home. Although not as effective as exterior shading, keeping your drapes and shades closed during the day helps keep unwanted heat out of your home.
3. Ventilate when it’s cool outside.
Most areas of California have cool, dry nights even after the hottest days. Cut your cooling costs by opening windows when it’s cooler outside than inside. In the morning, close up the house to trap the coolness inside.
4. Use ceiling fans wisely.
Ceiling fans create enough air movement in a room to make it feel cooler by four degrees or more. They use only about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb. Since you will feel cooler, make sure that you turn up your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher to save on your energy costs.
5. Eliminate wasted energy.
Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Unplug or recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t truly need it. Take not that this seemingly convenient way to keep extra drinks cold adds 10-25% to your electric bill. Remove the refrigerator door for safety reasons and to prevent mold.
6. Use appliances efficiently.
Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Run your appliances during off peak hours or after the sun goes down. Be sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after each use. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if you have one. When replacing these appliances, buy Energy Star products. They save up to 30 percent over standard models.
7. Plug “leaking energy” in electronics.
Many new TVs, VCRs, chargers, computer peripherals and other electronics use electricity even when they are switched “off.” Although these “standby losses” are only a few watts each, they add up to over 50 watts in a typical home that is consumed all the time.
If possible, unplug electronic devices and chargers that have a block-shaped transformer on the plug when they are not in use. For computer scanners, printers and other devices that are plugged into a power strip, simply switch off the power strip after shutting down you computer.
The best way to minimize these losses of electricity is to purchase Energy Star® products.
8. Operate pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently.
Look at the operating hours for your swimming pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep (if your pool has one). Shorten the operating time if possible. Switch pool filter and sweeper operations to off-peak hours and ideally during night time hours. Consider replacing pool pumps and motors with updated, more efficient equipment. Savings depend on your use.
Inexpensive Energy Solutions
1. Install a programmable thermostat.
Accidentally leaving the air conditioner on while you are out for the day becomes a thing of the past. Set your programmable thermostat to 85 degrees when you are away during the day, and 80 degrees when you are home. Don’t forget to turn the system off when you leave for the weekend.
2. Replace your air conditioning filters once a month.
Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the coil in your air conditioner to freeze up significantly increasing energy use. Saving up to 5% of cooling costs.
3. Keep air conditioner outside unit clear.
Air must be able to circulate freely around your air conditioner’s outside unit. Keep the area around it clear of weeds and debris. Never build or put anything near the unit that would interfere with the air circulation. If air can’t circulate freely around your outside unit, you’ll have higher bills and more service calls.
4. Install compact fluorescent lights.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star® compact fluorescent light bulbs, especially in the 5 light fixtures you use the most. Compact fluorescent lights use 75% less energy than incandescent lights. If every household converted from incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient compact florescent lights, California could save more than 1,000 megawatts and each home would save approximately $130 per year at current electricity prices.
5. Install low flow showerheads.
You’ll be surprised how much this simple device can cut your hot water costs.
6. Wrap your hot water tank with jacket insulation.
If your water heater is gas, be sure to leave the air intake vent uncovered.
7. Plug your home’s leaks.
Weather-strip or caulk leaky doors and windows, and cover your outlets.
1. Air conditioner tune-up.
An improperly charged air conditioner uses significantly more energy than one that is properly charged. Have a licensed heating and air conditioner contractor service your system.
2. Shade your home and windows.
Shading the outside of your home should be your first line of defense against summertime heat. Careful planting of trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover to shade your home and windows from the sun can really reduce your cooling costs. For immediate results, install patio covers, awnings, and solar screens to shade your windows. Energy savings can be up to 30 percent of cooling costs.
3. Install a whole house fan.
A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows and forces hot air out through your attic vents. These are used after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees and in the early morning.
4. Choose Energy Star® appliances and electronics.
When buying new appliances, choose Energy Star®-certified models. For example, a new Energy Star®-refrigerator uses about 20% less energy than a standard new refrigerator and 46% less than one manufactured in 1980. A new Energy Star® clothes washer uses nearly 50% less energy than a standard washer uses.
5. Increase ceiling insulation.
If your ceiling is uninsulated or marginally insulated, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5-25 percent depending on current insulation levels.
6. Seal ducts.
Leaking ductwork accounts for more than 25% of cooling costs in an average California home. Consider hiring a contractor to test the tightness of your ducts and repair leaks and restrictions in your duct.
7. Consider replacing your old air conditioner with an Energy Star ® unit.
New air conditioning units are available that use 40% less energy to cool your home than older models.
8. High efficiency windows.
If you are planning to replace your windows, choosing Energy Star® windows can reduce your cooling costs by up to 15 percent.
Keeping these summer energy saving tips in mind, will not only help you lower your energy bill this summer, but these will also help you beat the summer heat.
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