Those living in the mountains might think otherwise, but we have officially entered summer! Here on the Front Range that means warmer days, BBQs into the late summer nights, pools bustling with kids, and new adventures. On the other hand, it can also mean rising costs. We see it every day with food, gas, clothing, and housing, but what about our energy usage? There are few costs we can control and energy, in a way, is one of them. So how, during these hot summer months, do we keep these costs down? Check out my top 10 tips you can start doing or planning to do to help keep your house (and your wallet) cool this summer.
Things you can start doing today:
1.) Use your thermostat correctly or invest in a smart thermostat – Do you set your thermostat and forget it? Even when the temperatures cool as the sun sets? You don’t need the same amount of air during the night to feel comfortable. Raise the thermostat one or two degrees above 72 and reduce your energy bill by 1-3%. If you aren’t using your current thermostat the way it was designed (i.e. changing the temperature during the day and at night), then a smart thermostat may be your best bet. Then you really can set it and forget it.
2.) Use big appliances at night or not at all – Appliances like the oven, dryer, even the dishwasher put off heat, making your AC work even harder. Consider grilling or using a toaster oven to cook and do laundry at night, when it’s cooler, to give your AC a little break. Another tip? Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
3.) Use ceiling fans – Did you know your ceiling fan is directional? Run it in a counter-clockwise direction to help circulate the cooler air and create a breeze which gives the impression the room is cooler. Just remember to turn it off when you leave the room. Ceiling fans cool people not rooms.
4.) Use or invest in a whole house fan – We are lucky to live in a place that cools down at night. Turn off the AC and open those windows! Run whole house fans when the temperature drops outside. It helps cool and ventilate the house from the heat of the day. Just make sure to close the windows as the sun comes up to trap that cool air inside.
5.) Curtains – Like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket during winter or using a sun shade during summer, curtains regulate temperature. And here is a tip, use curtains with a white liner to increase the reflective quality and keep heat out.
6.) Light bulbs – Switching to LED can save you money, as they can last five times longer than other light bulbs and use less electricity. You don’t even have to change every light in your home to reap the benefits. Start by switching out the 5 most used bulbs and save around $44 per year on your electric bill.
7.) Schedule a checkup – Having your heating and cooling systems checked as the seasons change can increase their efficiency, extend equipment life, and save energy. Shoot for fall or spring to have regular maintenance done, when companies aren’t quite as busy.
Bigger investments with a bigger return:
8.) Windows – Replacing windows is quite an investment, but it is an investment that pays, not only in energy savings but also in your home’s market value. In fact, it’s estimated that a homeowner will see a 70-80% return on investment! Not thinking of selling? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you’ll save between $126 to $465 per year by replacing single-pane windows in your home. If replacing your windows sounds like a lot to bite off all at once, then consider doing it in phases. Check around, many companies offer special terms if you go this route.
9.) Insulation – Did you know that the sun’s heat beating down on your home is passed through the roof and into your attic? A poorly insulated attic will then transfer the heat into the room below, making your AC work overtime. Per Realtor.com, homes with an insulated attic bring, on average, a 107.7% return on investment or save you as much as 30% on your energy bill.
10.) 24/7 Energy Monitoring – Emporia Energy is helping homeowners save 3-13% on energy costs and even up to 50% when you follow their personalized recommendations. By monitoring your home’s energy usage (appliances, heating, and AC) via their Smart Home Energy Management Solution and app, the Emporia Vue, homeowners gain insight into making their home energy-efficient and avoid costly repairs. To learn more visit emporiaenergy.com.
Enjoy a cool (and not quite as costly) summer ahead!