As temperatures climb this summer, so can your home energy bills. With a little preparation, you can manage your energy use wisely and cut your costs. To gain the biggest savings, you’ll need to get your whole family on board and prepare your entire home for energy efficiency.
Here are 10 tips to help you use less energy and save money on your utilities this summer.
- Use the shade. Trees can provide natural shade and keep your home cooler in summer. If your trees need to be trimmed, you may want to wait until cooler weather arrives in fall. If you have no trees, consider strategically planting some as part of your long-term plan for energy savings.
- Close internal doors and vents. Don’t waste energy cooling your guest room or the bathrooms that are not being used, said Ron Jacque, general manager of T.R. Young, a full service general contractor and part of the Home Service Connections network. Jacque advises to shut vents and doors to close off all areas of the house you’re not using.
- Reduce your oven use. The oven’s heat can make your air conditioning system work overtime. Make more salads or use your outdoor grill instead of the oven to reduce indoor heat.
- Unplug devices. Your computer, television and other devices can use electricity, known as vampire energy, even when they are turned off. To avoid this energy drain, unplug all your electronic devices or buy a smart strip, so you can turn off the strip when devices are not in use.
- Use fans. A ceiling fan can help a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler and uses just 10 percent of the energy of a central air conditioner. Set ceiling fans in the counterclockwise direction to pull the cooler air up and circulate it around the room. In addition, Jacque recommends making sure your attic fan is working, which will promote proper cross ventilation and keep your home cooler.
- Turn off lights. During the day, rely on natural light alone. In the evening, turn off switches when you’re not using rooms.
- Program your thermostat. For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you save up to three percent of your cooling expenses. Try setting your thermostat as high as your comfort allows, and program it for higher temperatures during the day when no one is home.
- Close your shades. Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day to prevent the sun from heating your rooms.
- Wash with cold or warm water. About 90 percent of the energy used by your washing machine goes toward heating the water, so using the cold or warm cycle instead will save you a large amount of electricity.
- Wait before you refrigerate. Let hot food cool down and properly wrap it before refrigerating. Placing hot or uncovered foods in the refrigerator can create moisture, which raises the refrigerator’s internal temperature, putting the compressor into overdrive and wasting energy.
Whether you’re looking for help to maintain, update or renovate your home, check Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections website to find a trusted contractor in your area.