10 Tips to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency This Summer
Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time for pool parties, barbecues, and picnics. However, it also means it is the time of year where you will see some of your largest electric bills. While this is an unfortunate side effect of the hot weather, it shouldn’t be something that brings you down. Instead, you just need to be a little more proactive in the way you do things around the house. Here are some helpful tips you can use to cut back your energy usage all season long:
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1. Skip the Bug Zappers
When you are enjoying the company of your friends and family outside, the last thing you want to have to battle is mosquitoes. They are annoying, pesky creatures that leave you itching for days. And even though it’s tempting to plug in the electric bug zapper to be done with them, they do use a lot of power. Instead, stick with citronella candles. They work just as well as zappers as long as you have enough spread throughout the yard. To be sure you have ample coverage, check the label of the candle to see how far it protects.
2. Switch to LED Lighting
While they may be the most expensive upfront, LED lightbulbs outlast incandescent and CFL’s by a long shot. Not only will there be a lot more time between changing the bulbs, your monthly energy usage will also be less. LED bulbs are available for indoor and outdoor use, so replace as many as you can. As a bonus, LED bulbs are cool to the touch, so they are much safer, especially in the heat.
3. Incorporate Solar Power
From solar-powered pool pumps to solar-powered pathway lights, almost everything in your yard can be equipped with solar power panels. By channeling the energy of the sun during the day, your outdoor electric items will stay working all evening long.
4. Get Your Grill On
If you are already using a fire pit to stay warm after the sun goes down, you may as well cook some food while you are at it. Grill up some steak and chicken, both for that day and for the rest of the week. Not only will this save on the energy it takes to run your oven, the lack of extra interior heat will also keep your home cooler, so you can use your air conditioning less. Even if you aren’t using a fire pit, an outdoor grill is another efficient way to cook some grub for your family.
5. Reduce Your Water Usage
If you have a swimming pool, you are already using plenty of water. So, when it comes time to rinse off before and after you get into the pool, use a low-flow showerhead. They will still rinse you off sufficiently, but the amount of water you use will be greatly reduced. If you don’t have a pool, get one. It doesn’t have to be a full-on built-in pool; even a kiddie pool will do to help cool your kids down. This uses way less water than running the sprinklers for an hour or two.
6. Take Advantage of Your Trees
If you have built-in shade in your yard, you may as well use it. Trees are a great way to get out of the sun in the summer without having to go inside and crank up the A/C. Additionally, they provide exceptional insulation for your home. As long as they are placed in front of the window, they can block out a lot of the sun’s rays that make your home heat up so quickly.
7. Install Window Awnings
Trees are not going to be a viable option for all of your windows. In the places where they are not, you should install window awnings. Just like with trees, the awnings keep the direct heat of the sun out of your home, which means your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your home cool. In fact, when on your west-facing windows, awnings have been shown to cut back on the amount of heat you get from the sun by 77 percent.
8. Use a Power Strip
If you are like most people with a bunch of electronics, you probably leave them plugged in even when you aren’t using them. Which means all of these items are constantly sucking energy from your home. Instead of having to go around and manually unplug every gadget, you can connect them to a power strip that is easy to switch on and off throughout the day. In doing so, you can save over $100 per year.
9. Adjust the Air Conditioner According to Your Activities
Most homes these days already have programmable thermostats; however, you probably have it set thinking you’ll spend the day inside. So even if you head outside and spending a majority of your time there, your air conditioner is still going strong indoors. To cut back on your energy usage, simply override your programming before you head outside. There is no need to keep your home cool when you aren’t in it. Just don’t adjust it too much, because it will be harder for the A/C to cool it back down when you come back inside. A few degrees will suffice, and it can make a big impact.
10. Close Vents in Unused Rooms
Most rooms are not in use all day long, so you shouldn’t be paying to keep them cool. But unless you have a ductless system that lets you control each room individually, this can be challenging. A quick fix is to close the vents in the rooms you aren’t using. This will pump all of the air into the rooms you are in, cooling them down faster, and requiring less power from your air conditioner.
Just because summertime is here, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your electric bill. By following the above tips and being aware of how much electricity you are actually using, you can enjoy your summer to the fullest without having to stress every time the electric bill shows up.