How to Save Energy During the Summer

By: Kealia Reynolds Energy efficiency, Environmental responsibility, How to, Summer
Photo by Dmitri Popov

Summer means long-running air conditioning, constant wash cycles of bathing suits and beach towels, and more overall energy use. With some preparation, you can minimize energy consumption and cut down on your monthly utility bills. Here are nine ways to save energy this summer.

1. Raise the temperature on your thermostat

Though it might feel good to blast your AC in the summer, lowering your indoor temperature leads to extremely high utility bills. Consider setting the indoor temperature to at least 75ºF. The smaller the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bills will be. When you leave the house, set the temperature even higher (preferably 78ºF) or turn the air conditioner off altogether.

Swapping heavy bed clothes for lighter alternatives (or even cooling sheets) can help make up for temperature, and over time, your body will adapt.

2. Use fans to cool your house

Using a ceiling fan while a room is in use will allow you to raise your thermostat temperature four degrees. If you don’t have ceiling fans, portable fans work just as well—they’re inexpensive and readily available at any home goods or big-box retailer. We recommend the Dyson Cool tower, which is energy efficient and designed to cool larger spaces. When you leave a room, turn off all fans to reduce energy pull.

3. Clean your air filter

Dirty air filters can overwork your cooling system, causing your HVAC to use more energy. Not to mention, dirty air filters can circulate allergens and dust throughout your home, lowering indoor air quality. It’s recommended that you change your air filter at least every three months, so the beginning of summer is the perfect time to do this.

4. Heat food in your microwave

Using your oven and stove can raise your kitchen’s temperature by 10 degrees. By heating food in your microwave, you’ll lower the risk of overheating your kitchen and save energy in the process; microwaves use one-third the energy of an oven and produce less heat than other kitchen appliances.

5. Hang curtains

Sun coming through your windows can heat up your home and cause energy bills to rise. Draw curtains and blinds during the hottest parts of the day (between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.), especially if your windows are facing south.

6. Skip the dryer

Use the warm weather to your advantage and hang your clothes outside to dry. You’ll save energy and avoid raising the temperature of your home with heat-generating appliances. Also, line-dried clothes smell like summer heaven.

7. Switch to LED bulbs

Incandescent bulbs can turn 90% of the energy they use into heat, making rooms in your home considerably warmer. LED bulbs operate at a lower wattage and produce half as much heat. They also use 75% less energy and last 50 times longer than traditional bulbs, saving you money on energy costs.

8. Seal cracks and openings

To prevent warm air from leaking into your home, inspect your windows and doors for small openings and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping.

9. Turn down your water heater temperature

Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120ºF) to save energy.

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