Here you'll find strategies to help you save energy when the weather is warm and you are trying to keep your home cool. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the summer and early fall.
Replace old air conditioning units with newer, efficient models.
If you have an older unit that has not been properly maintained, invest in a new model. The replacement costs may seem daunting, but in the long run, they are well worth it. Manufacturers such as Trane, Rheem, and others are labeled with Energy Star ratings. Energy Star products us up to 50 percent less energy than other manufacturers.
Operate Your Thermostat Efficiently
Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78° only when you are at home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
Don’t forget about your air filters & vents.
Air filters should be replaced monthly to promote a more efficient system performance. Clogged or dirty air filters can cause a disrupt in the airflow and even lead to health concerns.
A clean vent also keeps debris from flowing through your home. Dirt and dust can easily collect and can be overlooked.
Vents can be accidentally shut for cleaning purposes and never reopened. If you notice an unusually warm room or area in your home, don’t forget to check the vent.
Use Fans and Ventilation Strategies to Cool Your Home
If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).
Don't Heat Your Home with Appliances and Lighting
Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.
Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but avoid direct sunlight.
Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air drying both dishes and clothing.
Lower Your Water Heating Costs
Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
Protect your HVAC unit from sun and debris.
An awning or tree can provide shade to your unit and cut energy consumption while helping your unit operate more smoothly. However, note that shrubbery or branches that can get into the system and can hinder the systems performance and may lead to permanent damage.