For many parts of the country, warmer weather can mean increased energy usage and higher electric bills. Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do around the house to conserve energy and save money during warmer months.
Closing your curtains or blinds can help minimize energy gain in your home by up to 77%.
Try a few of our tips below to keep your power bill in check. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Keep the sun out
Whether you prefer curtains or shades is a matter of taste, but both are effective in keeping your home from warming up during the day. In fact, window coverings are one of the easiest ways to keep your home cool during the day.
Heat from direct sunlight makes your air conditioning work harder than it needs to. A bit of shade indoors will go a long way to keeping your home naturally cooler — saving a lot of money. In fact, closing your curtains or blinds can help minimize energy gain in your home by up to 77%.
Go the extra mile by adding an inexpensive solar film to windows that get the most sunlight. It’s a cheap way to save energy without losing the natural light.
Use fans to supplement air conditioning
Central air is often the biggest energy expense in a home. However, fans use much less energy. Keeping the fans blowing will make your space feel that much cooler already, helping you feel great and limit AC use.
Running a $20 desktop fan each night instead of full AC will pay for itself within a year. Turning the thermostat from 78 to 76 will cost more than running the fans, especially if your home or apartment is poorly insulated or has an old air conditioner.
Extra tip: If you have a window fan, try running it in reverse. You can push your home’s hot air out, instead of pulling the hot air outside back in.
Optimize your home’s cooling efficiency
Rearrange your furniture to ensure it isn’t covering any air ducts and restricting airflow in your home. Simply moving the furniture from over vents can make a big difference in lowering your electric bill.
Also, if it seems like your HVAC equipment is not working as well as it should be, you can ask management to check up on your individual unit. If you own a home, look at the system as a whole to see if there are any improvements or replacements that can be made.
Avoid the oven
Using your oven or stove can raise your kitchen’s temperature up to 10º, forcing your air conditioning to work even harder to keep your home cool. For dinner, opt for salads, gazpachos, or other cold dishes or take advantage of the microwave, instead. Microwaves use just one-third of the energy that an oven does and produces only a fraction of the heat. Or, get out of the kitchen entirely and opt to grill outdoors.
Use cold water and air dry
Avoid using hot water whenever possible. Heating water for laundry takes a tremendous amount of energy. In fact, almost 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes toward heating up the water. It’s also usually unnecessary and actually harmful to most fabrics. Load up your washing machine and use a cold wash and rinse instead. Then, take advantage of the warm weather and dry your clothes outside instead of putting them through the dryer. You’ll help lower your power bill and avoid raising the temperature of your home with heat-generating appliances.
The same goes for your dishwasher. Save a little electricity by letting your dishes air dry. Simply turning off your dishwasher’s heated dry cycle can save about 15% of the dishwasher’s total energy use.