If you’re battling surging energy prices, this blog is for you. We’re going to dive into some of the best summer energy savings tips to help your wallet from sweating so much during these hot summer months.
We’ll tackle things like:
- Window coverings
- Appliance Use
- Air Sealing
Without any further ado — here we go!
The U.S. Department of Energy says: “… Heat gain and heat loss through windows is responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.”
Getting this cost down may be a no-brainer, but there are some different options out there that you may have questions about. Let’s take a quick look:
- Motorized Blinds
These offer ease of use, and can typically hide in plain sight. Some brands are even offering bluetooth-enabled and smart blinds, so you can set schedules for opening, closing, and tilting these blinds depending on the time of day
- Insulated Cellular Shades
These types of shades actually increase the R-value of your home windows. R-value is the term used to define a material’s ability to resist the transfer of heat. They’re honeycomb-shaped or pleated (think your grandpa’s trousers) to create air pockets between the front and back layers of the shade that act as insulators.
Basically, those air pockets can help cool the heat radiating through the windows during those hot summer months by 60% or more, while reducing the loss of heat of about 40% during the colder months.
- Louvered Blinds
Either vertical or horizontal, these are effective at blocking light and reducing summertime heat. They’re a great option if you have windows that are exposed to long spells of sunlight, but may not be the best in keeping your wintertime heat in.
- Curtains and Drapes
Curtains and drapes can do wonders as far as heat gain and loss goes, so long as they’re hung correctly. You’re going to want to make sure they’re hung close to the windows and extend to the floor or windowsill.
You’ll also want to consider hanging more than just one curtain or drape, as they can capture more heat and keep a room cooler (up to a 33% reduction in heat).
Utilizing fans during the hot summer months can save you and your AC a lot of sweat by letting you cool yourself without having the AC run as hard as you might want it to. It’s been shown that homeowners can increase the thermostat 4 degrees and not compromise any feelings of comfort while they’re using a fan to create a wind chilling effect.
If your home isn’t equipped with ceiling fans, you can have the same energy-saving (and cooling) benefits above by using a box or stand-type fan.
Do you remember your dad yelling “NOBODY BETTER TOUCH THAT THERMOSTAT” during the summertime? We do. The thermostat is arguably one of the most…well…argued pieces of technology in the home, and for good reason.
According to an article by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 12% of the total energy cost for a home comes directly from the HVAC system. For those of us in the unrelentingly hot and humid southern states, that cost jumps to 27%.
The good news is thermostats have come a long way from where they were even ten years ago. Devices like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat can be controlled from any smart device or computer, and can be programmed so you don’t even have to worry who might touch the thermostat.
To save some money during the hot summer months, it’s recommended you keep your thermostat at a higher than “normal” temperature during the day, and then slowly back down the temperature over the course of a few cycles at night. Typically, homeowners can start bringing the temperature down when they arrive home from work, wait a cycle, then drop the temperature again a degree or two at the most.
This allows your HVAC unit to have time between cooling cycles to defrost its internal coils, so the unit doesn’t freeze over and cause you more headaches (and sweat, likely!).
Minding your appliances during the summer can really help you save a few dollars. Consider the following:
- Purchase or utilize a slow cooker, as compared to cooking with your oven. The oven will bleed a lot of heat into your kitchen, ultimately making your HVAC system work even harder. Bonus energy savings for you grill masters out there!
- Cold water washing! It’s all the rage, and for good reasons. According to the American Cleaning Institute, about 90% of the energy used by your clothes washer is dedicated to heating the water.
Do you have kids and/or pets? A dirty job, perhaps? If so, then it’s highly likely you’re doing A LOT of laundry. During the summer, power is coming to you at a premium, so do yourself a favor and switch to cold water washing so you can save up to $200 a year. On a related note…
- Hang-dry your clothes when you can, either with hanging lines outside or using drying racks inside. The heat from the dryer can warm up your laundry room and home, even if you wait until dusk or nighttime to dry your clothes. Not only that, but dryers, too, draw a lot of power. Keep more money in your pocket by not using your clothes dryer, or at least, only use it when you have full loads.
- Keep your refrigerators and freezers full and cool. Energy Star says to keep your fridge between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer at zero. Make sure the seals on the doors are tight and that you do what you can to keep them both as full as possible. Even if you just have containers of water to fill in empty spaces, make sure you fill in as much as you can to keep the internal temperature as close as possible to “normal,” to keep your appliances from running often.
- Finally – unplug what you’re not using! From phone chargers to TVs and toasters, everything plugged in, even when not in use, will still draw power and generate heat. It might not be much, but if you’re already mindful of these other tips, you might as well make unplugging part of your habits, too! Every little bit counts!
One of the often-overlooked aspects of energy efficiency is air sealing; meaning, going through the house and making sure there aren’t any places where outside air can come in, and inside air can go out.
This is also especially important during both the summer and winter months, as homeowners generally want the air from their HVAC system to stay inside. In fact, according to the EPA, air sealing your home can cut 15% off your heating and cooling costs.
Air sealing your home can be a relatively simple process, but you may not see ALL the places air is seeping in or out of your home. Some easy ways to see or experience bad air seals in your home include:
- Light shining through a door or window jamb
- Feeling drafts from your attic door
- Noticeable temperature differences between your front, back, or garage doors and the areas immediately in front of them
If you notice any of these, the good news is, they’re relatively easy and quick fixes. Just head to your local hardware store and find caulk and weather stripping and fill in the gaps as best you can.
There are other areas that you may need some professional help with – specifically your attic, basement, and ductwork. Reach out to a qualified energy efficiency contractor like Energypro if you’re looking to remedy issues in those areas.
Summer Energy Savings and Energypro
If energy saving tips for the summer months are things you’re interested in, consider contacting the energy efficiency professionals at Energypro. Our Pearl certified experts can provide you with energy efficiency packages that feature things like:
- Energy efficient home upgrades including air sealing, insulation, attic tenting, HVAC duct sealing, and so much more.
- Energy efficient products like an LED light bulb package, a Google Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect, Aerus Airscrubber, Sense Home Energy Monitor, and more.
- A detailed report on the condition of all major systems within your home, such as the insulation, ductwork, furnace, air conditioner, lighting, and water heater.
- Recommendations on other types of energy-efficient improvements that will help make your home as energy efficient as possible.
Click here to reach out, and we’ll be back in touch shortly to discuss the different ways we can help you save money on your power bill.