With the summer heat finally making an appearance, it also brings increasing electrical bills. But, with some simple changes around your home, you can beat the heat, reduce your energy usage, lower your bills, and enjoy the sunny weather.
There’s nothing like the cool oasis of home while it’s blazing outside. The question is, how can you create that haven without breaking the bank? Here are some suggestions.
Utilize those free-standing fans and raise the thermostat setting by four degrees without reducing your comfort level. The wind feels cool, though it doesn’t actually cool the room. So, no need to leave them running if you’re not in the room to enjoy the breeze. If you have ceiling fans, make sure the blades rotate counter clockwise, pushing the cool air down where you need it.
Optimize Your Thermostat Setting
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 sounds a little extreme, we are living in the Pacific Northwest after all, you can adjust it a little lower. For every degree you raise your thermometer over 72 degrees, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.
Close the Blinds
Close those blinds to keep the sun from beating into your home and give your AC a break from trying to cool overheated air! North facing windows let in the natural light, while southern and western facing windows take the brunt of the sun and can easily turn your house into a greenhouse without window shades. Medium-colored drapes with a white lining are said to reduce heat gains by 33%.
Check Your Seals
If you have an older home, chances are you have some airflow around your doors and windows, making your AC work harder than necessary. Weather stripping on all doors and windows can help with leakage. In addition, check out window tinted films, a simple DIY you can find on Amazon or your local hardware store. Installation of tinted window film can help reduce solar energy by 71%.
The modern home is packed with appliances to make your life convenient and each one of them adds a little more to your power bill. So, take a look at these suggestions and see where you could lower your bill and still stay cool!
Upgrade Your Air Conditioner and Appliances
If you have an appliance that needs to be upgraded, consider Energy Star-certified appliances and air conditioning systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. They’ll be 15% more efficient than other models.
Maintain Your Appliances
You may not need to upgrade, but taking the time to maintain your appliances is worth it. Call a tech to check your appliances before putting them into full summer work mode. Check and change your air filters. A maintenance bill may save you money and inconvenience in the middle of summer!
Keep Your Fridge Cool
The fridge is a massive energy sucker, but what would we do without a cold glass of water or a popsicle on a hot day? So, treat your fridge right by keeping the temp between 35-38 degrees and the freezer between 0-5 degrees. Make sure you keep the fridge full (food or just jugs of water will do!), there’s less air space to keep cool, and the solid objects will help hold the temperature steady.
Relax and Unplug
Appliances consume energy, even when not in use. So, unplug the ones you don’t need. TVs, chargers, computers, and other small appliances can all be unplugged when not in use, and you’ll save money too.
Watch Your Water Use
Water is essential for life and a wonderful tool for helping beat the heat. Use your water wisely so that you can run that sprinkler or fill the kiddie pool without worrying about your bill.
Go Low Flow
Lower your water use this summer and lower your bill. If you’re watering a lawn or garden consider watering in the morning or evening when evaporation is at its lowest and your plants will get the most. In the home consider low-flow water fixtures for the shower and toilets.
Wash With Cold Water
With efficient appliances and detergents, washing your clothes in heated water is no longer necessary. Consider doing your laundry with cold water and save up to $200 annually. During the summer, lower temperature showers can help keep you cool too. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 and save!
While it may be hot outside, there are ways to keep the heat outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and reduce the amount of energy you’re using to stay cool.
Install a Clothesline
Reduce your energy use, keep the hot air from accumulating in the house, and enjoy clean, fresh smelling clothes. Bonus, the sun is a natural disinfectant!
Cook on the Grill
Avoid heating up the house and using more electricity with the oven.
Be Strategic With Your Yard
Shrubs, vines, and trees are invaluable in lowering the temperature around your home. Install a trellis and grow a vine like hops, roses, or clematis to naturally block the sun from your home while creating a cool and inviting place to sit outside.
Open the Windows
If you live in an area where it cools down at night, consider opening those windows! Cross ventilation or stacking (for multi-level homes) involves opening multiple windows creating airflow that pulls warm air out and cooler air in – a natural air-conditioning affect your grandparents will recognize!
Partner With Property Experts
Do you have a rental that could use some upgrades or maintenance to increase energy efficiency this summer? Having an expert who will help you navigate the complexities surrounding rental properties can lessen your stress levels and increase the value of your properties. Call or text Darla today at 503.515.3170 to learn more about how we provide the support you need to confidently enjoy the rental process.