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The heat is on! It’s time to make a game plan for saving energy this summer and avoiding skyrocketing electricity bills. Here are a variety of ways you can offset the season’s rising temperatures.
Buying stand, box or ceiling fans is a small investment that can reduce your energy costs. Using fans to help cool your home means you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level. Just remember to turn off the fans when you’re not in the room. They aren’t intended to cool the space — just the people in the space, via the wind chill effect.
According to the Department of Energy, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer can save you up to 10% in energy costs each year. If 78 degrees is too warm for you, you can adjust it a bit lower to be comfortable. Just remember that for every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat, so you can program a warmer setting when you’re not home and automatically start cooling your home right before you get back. If you’re into technology, try a wireless remote thermostat, like the ComfortLink™ II, that can be paired with the Nexia™ system and your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to control your air conditioner from wherever you are.
If you’re ready to take your summer energy savings to the next level, go for a system upgrade. Heating and cooling uses nearly half of the energy in your home, so investing in an energy efficient system is a smart move that will save you money in the long run.
When you’re upgrading your air conditioner, look for Energy Star certified systems that have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. They’ll be 15% more efficient than other models. While you’re going green, think about upgrading your entire home with Energy Star appliances. At the very least, schedule seasonal maintenance for your air conditioner and other systems, so they’re working their best.
In the summer, water usage usually increases — whether it’s watering your lawn or taking more post-swim showers. Keep outdoor watering costs down by only watering grass and plants in the early morning or at dusk, so the water doesn’t evaporate in the summer heat. Another secret to having an energy efficient home is installing low-flow water fixtures. These work well on shower heads, toilets and even your outdoor sprinkler.
Here’s a quick summertime money saver. Change up your laundry routine by only washing and rinsing your clothes with cold water. If you do it year round, it could save you around $200 annually.
Kicking up the AC isn’t the only way to keep your home cooler in the hot summer months. Take a quick walk around the house and close all the blinds and curtains. This will keep your rooms from heating up too much and being super hard to cool with your air conditioner or fan. Another tip to keep warm air outside is to add weather stripping to your doors and windows.
Your refrigerator and freezer are essential to keeping your lemonade and popsicles cold all summer long. So, here are few tips to save on your energy bill by maintaining your refrigerator properly. Set the thermostat between 35 and 38 degrees for the refrigerator and between 0 and 5 degrees for the freezer. Check the door seal and vacuum the coils. Make sure your fridge is always full of food (or even just jugs of water), so there’s less air space for it to have to cool.
Keep your electronics from sucking up all your summer energy by unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when you’re not using them. It’s an easy way to save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
Whether you’re grilling a great meal or treating yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, steering clear of your kitchen in the summer can reduce your energy bill. Using kitchen appliances can raise the temperature by 10 degrees. Not only will you reduce the energy you use to run those appliances, but you’ll also save on air conditioning costs to cool down your home.
Now that you’ve got a variety of energy-saving ideas that range from new habits to efficient upgrades, challenge yourself to see if you can lower your energy costs this summer. Then use those savings for a weekend vacation in the fall!