ENERGY SAVING TIPS FOR THE SUMMER
As part of our ongoing efforts to help our customers maximize their energy savings, below are some strategies that can help you save money on your electricity bill during the heat of the summer months. Most of these tips are free and can be used immediately, on a daily basis, to decrease your energy costs. After all, who doesn’t want to save energy on their next bill? Follow these tips below, one at a time, and notice the savings adding up.
For more tips, please follow our links that cover different strategies and new ways to reduce your energy
The biggest energy challenge for residential homes in Texas during the summertime is keeping the heat outside of your house. If there was a way to put a giant heat shield around your home in the summertime, that would be ideal. But because this isn’t practical, most customers will simply turn on their air-conditioners and try to push back on that heat every day thinking that is the only option. There are a number of steps that can be taken to help your air-conditioner work less, and therefore, reduce your energy bill. These small steps work together, and the more you use, the greater the effect.
It’s All About Your Windows
Windows are one of the biggest leaks of energy, both in the summer and in the winter. Modern windows have better insulation in them than they did 10 years ago, but they are still the weakest link when it comes to heat entering the home. Studies show that 75% of the sunlight that shines on a double-pane window will be stored as heat in the home.
Install Solar Film
Tinting your East and West facing windows with a film or using solar film will greatly reduce the amount of light entering your home, and some even reflect sunlight. In addition to cooling your home, window tinting can also increase the curb appeal of your home.
Window awning work by shading the window from sunlight shining onto window panes. Window awnings have the advantage of being deployed during the summer to reduce heat with the option to leave them closed during the winter to allow sunlight to warm your home. In addition to blocking out the sun, they can also increase the aesthetic appeal of your home.
Check for Air Leaks
In the same way that sealing your windows in the winter, it is also important that your windows are properly sealed in the summer. Check for old worn seals, cracks and holes along your windows and casings. This will prevent cold air from escaping your home and warm air from entering.
If you live in a hot climate and are about to re-roof, consider choosing a lighter colored roofing material than a darker one. Dark shingles for example will retain a hotter temperature and that heat will travel through your attic space and into your home ceiling. This heat is one of the major contributors to your air conditioner working so hard. The A/C needs to cool off the hot ceilings of your home caused by the sun’s heat.
Check Your Insulation
Just like sealing your windows, if your home is older, check that your home insulation is satisfactory.
Double Check Your Air Conditioner
Making sure that your air conditioner is running optimally is going to have an impact on your overall electricity bill. In the long run, an efficiently running air conditioner that is not fighting itself to cool your home will have a long-lasting effect on saving you money.
Review your air-conditioning filters. Make sure they are clean and allow the air to move freely. This is an easy but often overlooked problem. A clogged up filter will make the air conditioner work harder to pull air, and will effectively cost more money in running.
Check Your Evaporator Coils
Similar to clogged A/C filters, if the evaporator coils are dusty, they will prevent the air from cooling as it passes through the cooling fins. Air conditioner evaporator coils can have condensation forming on the fins as the warm air passes through them. The condensation on the surface will attract dust from the air passing through and overtime will get clogged. Clearing the coils will reduce the electrical load on your A/C equipment.
Shade Your A/C
If it is possible to shade your A/C unit by planting trees, shrubs, an awning, or choosing a shaded location for your A/C unit, this will reduce the amount of heat the unit needs to remove. A cooler A/C unit will cool your home faster than an A/C unit that is sitting in the sun.
Return Air Ducts
If you have central air, where the home air is circulating through a central air conditioner, be sure to keep your return air vents clear of blockages. The air returns are openings within the home, similar to your air vents, but they let the central HVAC system to draw air in from the rooms within the house. If the ducts are blocked, the air in that room will not efficiently cool off. You will be surprised what a difference it makes to keep the vents clear. If a couch or open room door blocks the vent, simply move the couch further away from the wall or leave the open door slightly away from the wall. The air returns must work together with your vents to make sure the air is circulating properly within your home.
Shading Your Home
Planting trees on the sunniest side of your home will provide cool shade to that portion of your home. You will notice in new communities, were there may not yet have mature trees, the streets will be hotter than communities surrounded in mature large trees. Your home will be cooler and benefit from a shading tree than compared to a home that is sitting in the heat of direct sunlight.
By now, it is common to see LED lightbulbs replacing older incandescent bulbs. The difference in energy consumption is dramatic. LED’s will reduce your lighting costs by more than 75%. Not only are they more efficient, but they are also much cooler to run. If you are renting, you can always take your lightbulbs with you.
Home Ventilation With Fans
Use ceiling fans to circulate the air. This will prevent hot spots from lingering in the ceiling. Ceiling fans also allow the hot air to make its way to the air return vents. Be sure to turn off ceiling fans if the room will not have people in it.
Normal room fans are also helpful in improving air circulation within a house. Moving air will create a cooling effect and keep you cooler. Remember that fans only cool people and not rooms, so turn them off if the room or home will be empty.
If you shower or take a shower, use the bathroom fans to remove extra humidity and heat from the room. Be sure that the fans are exhausting outside and not into your attic. If you have the ability to check your ducting in your attic, make sure the ducts lead vent outside.
Your thermostat is what controls your air conditioner. A few, simple strategies can be used to save money on your electricity if you know how to use your thermostat.
The smaller the difference between the outside ambient temperature and your indoor temperature, the more you will save on your energy bill. Therefore, set your thermostat a little warmer when you are away, and turn it down when you are at home.
Whether you have a predictable schedule or not, having a programmable thermostat will go a long way in saving you money on your electricity bill. You can program your thermostat to raise the temperature on a set schedule or you can program it to change the temperature with your phone or a press of a button on your way out. They are a little more expensive than standard thermostats, but they will pay for themselves if you use them. The average smart thermostat will save you approximately $100 a year in energy costs. Not bad.
Do not place computers, televisions, lamps, or large appliances near thermostats. The thermostat will pick up the heat generated by these devices and will overcompensate by trying to lower the temperature.