As the temperatures rise, many homeowners face higher energy bills. Summer is the most expensive time for utilities across the country. However, you can do some simple things to boost your home’s efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Below are a few steps to use less energy this summer while staying comfortable at home.
1. Assess Your Energy Use
When assessing your energy usage, it’s best to check your home for vulnerabilities. A quick look around may reveal areas where you can make the house more energy-efficient. Look for gaps around doors, drafty windows, and unused, energy-drawing appliances.
Use the DIY energy audit from the Department of Energy as a guide, or hire a home energy professional to help you evaluate ways to limit the amount of power you use.
2. Use Less Energy this Summer
Choose areas to target for improvement. Here are a few easy places to start.
- Turn the thermostat up a few degrees. Even a couple of degrees will substantially affect how much you spend throughout the summer. Likewise, lower your thermostat in winter to save on your utility costs year-round.
- Because fans cool you down using less energy than the air conditioning, use a fan instead of the AC when temperatures are milder.
- Large appliances – like an oven – generate a lot of heat in your home. Use smaller devices that generate less heat or cook outside on a grill, smoker, or outdoor oven.
- Other large appliances, including the dishwasher and clothes dryer, also generate heat. Running these machines during cooler hours (night or early morning) is best to avoid unnecessarily heating your home.
3. Make Investments to Use Less Energy in Summer
Make smart investments now to reduce your home’s energy use for years. Boosting insulation and purchasing energy-efficient appliances costs money upfront, but you’ll save on the monthly utility bills over time.
- Upgrade to Energy Star-certified appliances and electronics. These products use up to 30% less energy than standard appliances.
- Have your HVAC system inspected yearly to maintain performance and change the filter as recommended.
- Insulation is not just a consideration for winter. Ensuring your house is adequately insulated keeps the living spaces comfortable and climate-controlled, and you’ll spend less on monthly power bills all year.
- Windows that face the sun allow heat into your home. Installing light-blocking window coverings (curtains, drapes, or blinds) on the south and west will block sunlight and keep your rooms cooler.
- Solar panels are also an excellent investment to reduce energy consumption. If you can’t install solar panels, strategically planting shade trees will help reduce your air conditioning needs in the summer while allowing the sun to warm the home in winter.