Summer Energy Efficiency Tips
The weather across the state of Colorado is hard to beat. With an average of 300 days of sunshine, we’re fortunate to be able to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors almost year round. Though, the same sunshine that brings warm days during winter also has the capability to bring really hot days during summer.
This means hunkering down inside to get away from the 90 degree heat waves and waiting until the sun begins to dip behind the mountains to venture back out. While inside, you’ll want to run your air conditioning so you can stay cool. But keeping the A/C on all day, and relying on it to make your home comfortable, can result in high energy costs.
To help you beat the heat, we have a few tips for keeping your home cool during the summer while also saving energy. Check out our top six ideas for making your home more efficient at dealing with the heat.
Adjust Your Thermostat Settings
When the mercury rises outside, it’s time to turn on the air conditioning inside. When you do, make sure the settings for your thermostat are adjusted to help you save money while also making sure you can stay cool and comfortable. With a programmable thermostat from Carbon Valley you can even preset temperatures or control your air conditioning settings remotely, letting you optimize when your system is on.
On really hot days your air conditioning will have to work harder than usual to cool off the air inside. To keep costs down, set your thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable to you, but also keeps the temperature inside close to the temperature outside. This is because the closer these temperatures are, the easier it will be for your air conditioning system to maintain.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees for a balance of comfort and efficiency. While this still may be fairly hot for some, it will at least be more comfortable than the high temperatures outside. If you are still looking to cool your home off even further, try our next tip – using fans to make the temperature feel lower than it actually is.
Use Fans Throughout Your Home
Ceiling and floor fans are an easy way to make your home more comfortable without having to turn on the air conditioning. Depending on the type you are using, a fan can make it feel up to 4 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature inside your home. This is especially useful if it is not as hot and you need to bring the temperature down a few degrees.
If you do have to turn on the air conditioning, use a fan in conjunction with the A/C for an efficient combo. The air conditioning can help remove the humidity in the air and start to bring the temperature down. Then, the fans will lower the temperature even more for cool, refreshing relief.
Install Blinds in Your Windows
As the sun rises, and glorious sunlight begins to fill your home, it is a welcome start to they day. By mid-afternoon, with nothing covering the windows to block the sunlight, that same sunlight can make your home feel like an oven.
By closing your curtains, or installing them if you don’t have any already, you can start to bring down the temperatures in your home. You can even find curtains that provide UV protection to further limit how much the temperature rises while also protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays. For a lower cost alternative, a medium colored drape with a plastic backing has been shown to reduce heat gain by 33%.
If you are using blinds, the horizontal slats can let some light and heat creep through. The ability to adjust them provides a unique advantage, however. If you have lighter colored ceilings, you can angle them so that the light is reflected towards the ceiling where it is less likely to heat up other surfaces in your home. Reflective blinds can also reduce heat gain by around 45% when closed completely.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting
Older incandescent bulbs are not as energy efficient as their newer LED counterparts and they also give off more heat while on. If you are keeping multiple lights on throughout the day and evening, this gives your air conditioning one more thing it has to contend with.
This extra heat also means the lifespan of incandescent bulbs is much shorter. So, while they may be cheaper upfront, they will need to be replaced more often and this can end up in higher costs in the long run. By upgrading your bulbs with LED or energy efficient lighting, you’ll save on energy your energy bill and they will operate at a much cooler temperature range, helping you beat the summer heat.
Open Windows for Ventilation
In Colorado we’re fortunate enough to have cooler evenings, regardless of how hot it can get during the day. Take advantage of these dips in temperature by opening your windows at night and letting the cool air flow into your home.
You won’t have to spend money on running your air conditioning 24/7 and this outside air will be much fresher than what has been circulating in your closed home all day. It will also remain relatively dry as there typically isn’t much humidity to contend with.
Avoid Using Hot Appliances
Save the recipes that require your oven or multiple stove tops for the winter. Running appliances like your oven, and even your clothes dryer, can introduce heat into your house. Depending on the square footage of your home, this heat won’t get dissipated as quickly as it needs to and can drive up the temperature inside.
While you’ll still need to use these appliances, if you stick to using them in the evenings when it is cooler or just using them sparingly, it will help keep your energy costs to a minimum. Running larger loads of laundry will also help as you can get more clothes clean and dry in one shot versus running the dryer multiple times for smaller loads, often for a similar duration.