It’s finally summer! And while being outside in the sunny heat is great for absorbing some much-needed vitamin D, the inside of your home needs some love, too. Keeping your house cool in summer requires a lot of expensive energy, especially as temperatures outside rise to new highs every year. Follow these top seven tips to save energy — and money — during those hot summer days.
Update Your AC
Give your air conditioning system some annual love. Have a technician come out to examine it and do a tune-up if needed. This way, it will be in optimal operating condition once the really hot weather arrives — and that’ll save you money because it won’t have to work as hard.
Avoid the Light
Having sunlight streaming in through your windows all day in the summer can seriously increase the amount of energy you’re using to keep your home cool. Instead of keeping the shades open, use black-out curtains over the windows. It’ll block the sun from coming into your home and heating everything up. Still want a slice of sunshine? Dedicate one or two windows to stay uncovered for short periods of time, or grab a lawn chair and go spend some time outside.
Change Your Water Usage
Ah, the things we need water for in the summer: watering the lawn, washing grass stains out of clothes, taking more frequent showers (hello, sweat!), cleaning all those dishes from picnics and parties. Well, you can make your water work for you. You’ll save energy costs if you water your lawn and plants in the morning or evening, when the hot sun won’t quickly evaporate the water. You can also wash everything — including yourself — in cold water and get a low-flow shower head and sink faucet.
Check Your Air Filter and Vents
A dirty air filter blocking the flow of air through your air conditioning system makes the entire thing work harder, which uses more energy. Check the filter regularly for build-up and either clean or replace it. You should also be going through the house to make sure your vents and ductwork are clear. A big blockage of dust and grime won’t admit cooler air into your room, but you’ll still be paying for your AC’s attempts to penetrate the buildup.
Use Your Fan Efficiently
A fan, when used in combination with air conditioning, can be quite efficient. But only if you use it the right way. In hotter months, you’ll want to set the blades to rotate counterclockwise. This pushes the air down from the ceiling, creating a nice breeze that can carry your AC throughout the house. And if you have your air conditioning off or set to a warmer temperature, try putting a bowl of ice and water in front of a box fan. It’ll push the cool air from the bowl forward into the room.
Move the Thermostat Needle
Try to match the number on the thermostat to the temperature outside as closely as possible while still being comfortable in your home. If you cool your house less, you’ll be paying less money in energy costs. If you can’t bear to live daily life in a warmer home, kick the thermostat up a notch when you leave the house for an extended period of time, like if you’re going to work. And if you’re someone who likes to sleep cool, keep the temperature set a little higher, but swap your blankets for light top sheets that breathe and get a cooling pad for your bed.
Seal Every Window
Sealing windows isn’t just to keep the heat in during the winter months — it’s also to keep the heat out during the summer months. Check your windows for weather stripping, and if you don’t have any on the seams, add some. If you aren’t sure if you do (or if you have it and you want to make sure it’s working), walk near the windows with an instant-read thermometer. If you can see the number rising when you’re by the window, then you probably have hot air seeping in.
This one’s a double perk. When you use the oven and stove in the house, you’re generating heat, which stays trapped in your home and needs to be cooled. But if you cook outside on the grill, or even just order out, you avoid that problem and the extra cost that comes with using appliances in the house when you don’t have to. Plus, everything tastes better with a little bit of grill smoke and a lower price tag!
Looking for more ways to beat the heat this summer? Check out our blog, where we share our tips on everything from home energy efficiency during your vacation to ways your kids can help you save electricity this summer.