Summer is here and temperatures are rising across the country – but your electricity bills don’t have to! Even though hot days usually mean cranking up the air conditioner and using more electricity, there are countermeasures you can take to conserve energy during the sweltering summer months.
In this article we’ll take a look at: smart, practical, and easy ways to save energy and money this summer.
1. Use Fans
Whether it’s a box fan, a ceiling fan, a desk fan, or even one of the new bladeless air circulation devices, using a fan to circulate the air is a super easy way to make any room more comfortable. They won’t actually lower the temperature, but circulating air makes you feel cooler. You might be wondering, “Don’t fans use electricity, too?” They do indeed, but fans require significantly less energy than HVAC units. So try setting your thermostat a little higher and offset the temperature difference with fans. You’ll likely still feel comfortable while using less energy.
2. Upgrade Your Appliances
This one requires an up-front investment that isn’t always feasible. However, if you have had the same air conditioner or appliances for several years, it might be time to consider purchasing new, Energy Star-Certified units. On average, Energy Star appliances are 15% more efficient than other models and therefore cost less to operate. So if you find yourself in the position of having to decide between major repairs and springing for new units, consider upgrading. You could very well save money in the long run.
3. Wash With Cold Water
This one isn’t summer-specific. You can (and should!) wash with cold water all year. But summer activities – such as beach trips, pool days, and messy outdoor play – often result in an increase in laundry loads. Skipping the hot water in favor of cold can help to minimize the cost of doing laundry. Modern machines and detergents work just as well in cold water, and you’ll use up to 90% less electricity when your machine doesn’t have to heat the water.
4. Hang Your Clothes Outside
One of the most common themes you’ll notice during conversations about saving energy is that producing heat requires a lot of electricity. It’s why using cold water instead of hot is an easy way to cut your usage — most of the electricity is used to heat the water. The same is true for the clothes dryer. They work by producing heat and generally run for up to an hour. You can eliminate that use simply by hanging your clothes to dry outside. A full-fledged clothesline is nice, but drying racks are also a great option for smaller spaces.
5. Close the Blinds
Sunshine is nice, but when it’s pouring through your windows, it’s also heating up your home. When this happens, your air conditioner has to work harder to compensate for the temperature increase. One of the easiest ways to manage interior temperatures is to keep your blinds and drapes closed during the hottest parts of the day. It’s an easy and effective way to get the most out of your conditioned air.
6. Unplug What You’re Not Using
Did you know that many electronic devices use power when they’re plugged in, whether they’re turned on or not? This phantom, aka “vampire,” power is a consequential source of energy waste in most households – and it’s also easy to fix. Unplug your devices when they’re not in use. You can also use power strips with built-in switches to cut the power to many devices simultaneously. It might seem like overkill, but think of it this way: unplugging your devices while you sleep — roughly one-third of the day — will cut your phantom power loss by a third.
7. Replace Your Filters
Do you replace the air filters on your HVAC system at least once a month? If so, great! You’re doing it right. If not, today is the day to get on it! Keeping your filters clean can help your HVAC system perform 15% more efficiently, prolong its lifespan, and prevent dust, allergens, and other junk from circulating throughout your home. Set a reminder to replace your filters once a month. You can even make it easy by adding the filters to an auto-ship list.
8. Switch to LED Bulbs
LED light bulbs are one of the best inventions to hit the home consumer market. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LEDs are brighter, generate less heat, and use up to 75% less electricity. Not only that, they last longer and won’t interfere with your air conditioner’s attempt to cool the room. That’s a win, win, win. If you haven’t made the switch to LED bulbs, make it a priority. Even if you’re not able to replace them all immediately, you can make the switch gradually as the old incandescents burn out.
9. Get a Programmable Thermostat
Remember how we mentioned that LED bulbs were one of the best inventions? The programmable thermostat is another. They’re already becoming a standard feature in most new home construction because they heat and cool the home much more efficiently. Programmable thermostats will learn your behaviors and automatically adjust the temperature settings when you leave the house or go to sleep, for example. Sure, you can manually adjust the thermostat before you leave the house, but a smart thermostat will ensure you never forget.
10. Run a Dehumidifier
You might be wondering how buying another appliance that uses electricity can help you save electricity. Dehumidifiers help in the same way fans do – they use minimal energy and complement your HVAC system by making the air feel cooler. Removing humidity from the air gets rid of that “heavy” feeling and makes it easier for your AC to cool the air. You can even purchase energy-efficient models to maximize your savings. Dehumidifiers are a great investment, especially if you live in a humid climate (looking at you, south Texas).
11. Seal Up the Gaps
Nobody runs their air conditioner while the windows are wide open. But if you have gaps between your doors, windows, siding, rooflines, or anywhere else, conditioned air can and will escape at those points just as it would through a wide-open window. So if you didn’t already do it during your spring cleaning projects, add it to your summer chores — take a walk around the interior and exterior of your home, including the attic. Look for gaps that need to be sealed up with caulk, expanding foam, or weather stripping. It’s usually an easy DIY project, but also a standard job nearly any maintenance worker can do.
Sign Up for Electricity With CleanSky
If you really want to save energy and lower your electricity bill, it may be time to assess the terms of your current contract. Are your rates competitive? Do you have a plan that suits your lifestyle and energy usage habits? Is the electricity you’re using produced with 100% clean and renewable wind, solar, and carbon-neutral natural gas?
With CleanSky Energy, you’ll enjoy great fixed rates, clean energy, and unparalleled customer service. Give us a call at 1-888-993-9891 and we’ll help you make the switch today!