Use these simple, low-cost tips to stay comfortable and keep your energy bill in check this season.
From sweating it out at your desk during the day to tossing and turning at night, feeling too hot is never pleasant. But the good news is, saving energy and staying cool at the same time is possible.
Here are a few ways to do both.
Fans are your friend
Air conditioners are a blessing, but there are other ways to stay cool. Ceiling fans are a great option to complement your air conditioning. A typical high-efficiency central air conditioning unit uses approximately 3,500 watts of power, on average, when it’s in use. A ceiling fan on the other hand, uses approximately 50 watts.
While you may still need air conditioning throughout your home, using a ceiling fan can help you feel cooler in the rooms where you’re spending longer periods of time, like a home office or a bedroom. With ceiling fans keeping you cool, you can raise the temperature of your AC, keeping it from kicking on as often and saving energy.
Working from home more? Try setting up your workspace in a cooler area of your home and use fans so you can set your AC to a higher temperature.
When shopping for ceiling fans, look for models that are ENERGY STAR certified. They’ll have better motor and blade design and will use 60 per cent less energy than standard models. As a bonus, ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fans allow you to reverse the airflow direction, so you can use them during colder months too. Simply switching the direction the blades turn may help reduce your heating needs.
Whatever the season, be sure to switch off the fan, or at least lower the speed, when you’re not in the room to save even more energy.
Get more from your ceiling fan. Learn how to set the direction and angle for all seasons.
Time for AC? Make a wise buying decision
If it’s time for air conditioning, that’s okay – it’s still possible to save energy. It’ll take a bit of research though. Along with central air conditioners, portable units, window units and split ductless air conditioners are also available.
As with ceiling fans, be on the lookout for the ENERGY STAR label on the air conditioner units you are considering. Most importantly, talk to a certified contractor who can help you determine what kind of unit will be best for your space and will allow you to save the most energy possible. Sizing, for example, is extremely important. A unit that’s too big for the space will be less efficient, costing you more money in the long run.
Use a smart thermostat
If you want to spend less time thinking about your home’s temperature – which we can’t blame you for – try a smart thermostat. This easy-to-install tech learns your schedule and habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly, so you can scratch another thing off your daily to-dos.
When installing your smart thermostat, be sure to keep placement in mind so you can get more representative temperature readings and maximize your comfort.
Draw the shades to keep your place cooler during hot, sunny days.
Switch up your summer menu
Give your stovetop and oven a break and try some new recipes. Take advantage of outdoor cooking with a barbecue instead of using heat-generating appliances indoors. And for dessert, try no-bake recipes.
Don’t have a barbecue? No problem. Try cooking meals in batches. That way, you’ll only need to turn your appliances on once – saving energy and keeping your kitchen cooler.
Don’t forget about maintenance
Yes, summers are for relaxing and fun, but leave a little time for some basic home maintenance – you’ll be glad you did.
Air leakage around your home means your air conditioner (and heat sources in the colder months) have to work a lot harder. Luckily, there’s a low-cost, quick way to prevent air leaks. Using weather stripping and caulking around your windows and doors can help you better control your home’s temperature and humidity levels.
If you’ve got the time and budget for bigger projects, consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows and ensuring you have enough quality insulation.
Summer is here, so make sure to enjoy it, but don’t let hot and humid weather dampen your mood. By making some simple upgrades to your home, you can stay cool and comfortable while keeping your energy bills in check.