Warm weather is here to stay for several months in most parts of the country, and that means backyard barbecues, trips to the beach, and outdoor DIY projects. Although warm weather is a welcome relief for most people, homeowners know that the months of May through September can also bring an unwanted surprise: extremely high energy bills.
Keeping a house cool during the dog days of summer requires a huge amount of energy and a powerful air conditioning unit. That’s why energy bills during the warm months of the year can be substantially higher than they are during early spring and fall. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your home more energy efficient and keep your energy bill at a reasonable level. Best of all, many of the top tips for conserving energy in your home are inexpensive and quick projects that can be completed in less than a day.
Check out Blindster’s tips below for the best ways to cut down on your electric bill this summer:
Install insulating and UV-ray blocking window treatments.
Your windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to areas of your home that represent energy inefficiency—especially in the summer. The sun’s UV rays enter your home through your windows and cause its ambient temperature to rise over time. Reducing the amount of UV that passes through your windows is an effective way of making your home more energy efficient.
At Blindster, we offer a wide selection of energy efficient window treatments. Choose from cellular shades like our Premium Blackout Single Cellular Shades and our Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades, or pick up our Premium Blackout Solar Shades, 2” Premium Light Filtering Sheer Shades, and even our Fauxwood Plantation Shutters.
Seal cracks and openings around your windows and doors.
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In addition to reducing the amount of UV light that enters your windows, it’s also important to make sure that cold air isn’t escaping and warm air isn’t entering. Cracks and small openings around your windows and doors can make your air conditioner work overtime keeping your home cool—and that increased energy output will quickly show up on your energy bill.
Caulk and weatherstrip your windows and doors to form a stronger seal when they are closed to make your home more energy efficient. If your windows and doors are old and difficult to seal, replacing them is an option that will cost more upfront, but will ultimately save you money down the road.
Keep your thermostat at a reasonable temperature to reduce energy costs.
When it’s hot outside, it can be tempting to change your thermostat to a low temperature to make it as comfortable as possible inside. However, every degree below your home’s ambient temperature represents additional utility costs and energy requirements.
It’s not necessary to do without air conditioning during the summer, but you might be surprised by how comfortable your home can be when the thermostat is set higher than normal and airflow is supplemented by ceiling fans and stand-alone fans. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that ceiling fans allow thermostats to be increased by 4 degrees without a noticeable reduction in comfort levels.
Reduce the amount of heat your appliances and gadgets produce.
In addition to the sun, your biggest enemy in the battle of reducing your energy bills is everything inside your home that plugs into a wall outlet or power strip. Everything from televisions, computers, laptops, cable television boxes, hair dryers, toasters, dishwashers, light bulbs, and microwaves is capable of generating heat that can increase the ambient temperature in a room by multiple degrees.
However, none of these appliances and gadgets affect your home’s temperature as much as your oven. When you’re trying to save on energy costs during the summer, avoid baking or broiling as much as possible. Instead, cook on your stove or even on a grill outside.
Purchase and install a smart or programmable thermostat.
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Your air conditioning needs change on a weekly, daily, and even hourly basis. There’s no sense in keeping your home cooled to a comfortable temperature while you’re at work and the house is empty. Studies show that programmable thermostats can save homeowners hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs due to making sure air conditioners work only when necessary and never waste energy by cooling empty homes.
They are especially convenient and efficient for homeowners whose schedule changes day by day. Instead of manually changing the temperature multiple times throughout the week, each day can be individually programmed on a 24-hour basis, resulting in even more energy savings.
Replace your air filters regularly and schedule frequent inspections for your air conditioner.
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Even the most modern and energy efficient air conditioning unit will struggle when it’s backed up or clogged due to dirty air filters. Replace your air filters frequently—especially during the summer—as the combination of increased allergens and dust particles and increased demand on your air conditioning unit can make breakdowns much more likely to occur.
In addition, it’s also important to schedule regular inspections and maintenance for your central air conditioning unit. Many major issues with these units aren’t noticeable or detectable until it’s too late. Repairing a central AC unit can be very expensive and take several days—which can be difficult to handle when it happens in the middle of summer. Frequent inspections and part replacements/repairs can keep your AC unit running in peak conditioning, reducing your electric bill and decreasing the chances of its malfunctioning on a hot summer day.
Reduce your water heater’s maximum temperature.
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Hot water is great for taking baths and refreshing showers, but it’s less necessary in the summer when the temperature of your home may be higher than normal. The U.S. Department of Energy says that water heating accounts for nearly 20 percent of the energy consumed by a typical household, but heating water to temperatures above 120 degrees is rarely necessary. Reducing your water heater’s maximum temperature will not only save you money, but it will also prevent you from accidentally scalding or burning yourself while washing your hands or taking a shower.