Top 10 Ways to Save Energy While Staying Cool
As the mercury rises during the summer months so does the expense of cooling our homes. It’s easy to feel at the mercy of the utility companies when we see that monthly bill. Pay up or swelter. But there are things we can do to hang onto more of our hard earned dollars and stay cool at the same time.
- Use a ceiling fan. A ceiling fan won’t actually cool the room but it will circulate the air faster causing perspiration to evaporate faster and that’s really the secret to keeping cool. You can save a lot on your utility bill by using a ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner. There’s a small switch on the fan to adjust the direction of the blades. In the summer they should run counter clockwise to push the air down.
- Keep draperies, blinds and shades closed during the warmest part of the day. This will reflect the heat away from the room. Use light colors for window treatments for added efficiency. They will do a better job than darker colors at reflecting the heat away from your interior spaces.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. This way if you do use an air conditioner you can set the thermostat within the comfort zone when you’re home and higher when you’re away. Also by raising the temperature a few degrees at night, when it’s naturally cooler, you can get additional savings.
- Install an attic vent fan. The fan will pull the hot air up and out allowing cooler air to enter the home at a faster rate. Also the surface of a roof can absorb a lot of heat so a vent fan will help exhaust this heat back outside.
- Keep your kitchen cool. No one really likes to use the stove top or oven when it’s sweltering outside. Use the microwave or small cooking appliances such as electric griddles or grills that give off less heat. Use your stove vent when you’re cooking, even if you’re not using the stove.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only will they save on your lighting costs but they also give off 70% less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs which can contribute to lower cooling costs as well. Use task lighting as opposed to whole room lighting to light up just the areas where you need light.
- Use weatherstripping and caulk to seal leaks. Just as we seal up our homes against the cold air in the winter, we can do the same to keep out the heat in the summer. Add weatherstripping around doors, windows and window air conditioners. Caulk around TV cable, electric or plumbing entrances, dryer vent exhausts.
- Keep your air conditioner well maintained. A clean and well tuned cooling system is going to function more efficiently. Change the filters regularly and schedule a yearly inspection and tune-up. if your system is old or inefficient you may want to consider replacing it. Newer systems can be over 50% more efficient than units that were installed just ten years ago.
- Don’t leave power adapters plugged in when not in use. All those little boxes attached to the power cords for recharging our cell phones, laptops, digital camera docking stations and for use with other electrical items give off a lot off heat. If you have several of these plugged in they can really heat things up.
- Shade your windows with trees. If you have windows that get a lot of direct sunlight, consider planting trees. Small trees can do a lot to block out the sun on a one story house, even the first year you plant them. Choose healthy, well developed species that are a few years old. They may cost more, but you’ll also notice a quicker return on your investment.