The weather is really starting to heat up across the country, and with the hot temps come higher summer energy bills.
The good news is there are ways to prevent your house from becoming a sweat lodge without breaking the bank. Here are a few of our best tips to cool down your energy costs.
Turn Up the Thermostat
You don’t have to turn it up too high, but turning your thermostat as high as is comfortable can really save you money on your energy bill over the course of the month.
Detroit-based DTE Energy recommends keeping your house set at 78 in the summer. This simple action can save you up to $180 per year.
Another cool energy savings tip is to look into a programmable or smart thermostat. These thermostats can be set to turn themselves up in the summer – or down in the winter – during the day when everyone is at work or school. Smart thermostats even learn your habits.
When I think of insulation, I generally think of keeping the heat in. However, once you cool down your house, insulation also helps keep the cold air in.
You can start by sealing hidden leaks. One popular spot where sneaky leaks will try to make their way in is the area around your windows. You can identify leaks by holding a lighter around the edges of the window. If the flame flickers, you may have located a leak.
You can seal leaks using caulk, weather stripping or spray foam. Want to know more? Check out our insulation tips.
Fan of Fans
The classic fan is a great cooling tool. It’s also incredibly energy-efficient.
A New York Times feature on the power of the fan had this staggering statistic: A typical central air-conditioning system with 3 kilowatts of power would cost 36 cents per hour. In contrast, a typical ceiling fan set at medium speed uses just 30 watts for power, and it would take three hours of use before it would cost you a penny.
Once you get the house cool, turn the air conditioner off and use the fan to recirculate the air. If there’s a breeze from outside, you can use a window fan to amplify it.
While we’re talking about breezes, you can take advantage of any natural wind patterns that occur around your house by simply opening the windows at the opportune time. If you’re lucky, your home has been set up to take advantage of these cross breezes. The sound and feel of the wind may even help you fall asleep faster at night.
Try a Tree
Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to take advantage of Mother Nature’s breathing to stay cool. There are some things we can take into our own hands in terms of landscaping that could actually lower our energy bills.
Planting trees can actually limit sun exposure to your house and lower your energy usage by as much as 23%.
If you don’t have room for trees, you can check out the possibility of vines to block out the sun. This is a double advantage. In the winter, the leaves fall off and the sun can come in to heat up your home.
If you want to avoid the hassle of planting, you can also prevent the light from getting in with shades or blinds.
Turn Out the Lights (Or Go LED)
I know what you’re thinking: Of course turning off the lights will save energy. But did you ever consider that turning out the lights could keep your house cooler, too?
No lightbulb is 100% efficient. Most lightbulbs give off heat. In some cases, it’s a lot of heat. Since there are more daylight hours in the summer, you probably don’t need lamps on as much anyway.
What happens when you need light and still want to stay energy-efficient and cool? Go ahead and check out LED bulbs. Not only do they run cooler, but they’re more energy-efficient.
Check out more tips on how to save energy year-round. Do you have any tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments.
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