Everyone just got a big summer power bill and it is still hot outside. We hope these hints will help you save on your power bill until the cooler weather gets here.
Follow these simple, cost-effective tips to stay cool and reduce summer energy bills:
- Turn In. Turn On
ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard new model and up to 40 percent less energy than a model that is more than 10 years old. Look for a high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Units with high EERs cost less to operate. Turn in your old, room air conditioner to your local waste management facility and turn on a new ENERGY STAR air conditioner.
- Size it Right
A properly sized air conditioner will operate more efficiently and dehumidify more effectively. An oversized unit will cycle on and off more frequently. Short cycling reduces an air conditioning system’s life, and a short cycling system will not reduce humidity effectively. Undersized equipment can reduce the efficiency of air distribution and accelerate wear on system components, leading to premature failure.
- No Dirty Business
A dirty filter will increase energy use and can damage the air conditioner leading to early failures, so check the filter every month and replace as needed.
- Work in the Morning or Evening
Use ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler outside. Use a microwave oven to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible.
- Chill Out in the Shade
A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
- Don’t Forget the Adoring Fans
ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans can help cool a home without greatly increasing electricity use. They improve airflow and create pleasant breezes.
- Just Chill When You’re Home
For central air conditioning, a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to automatically adjust to a more comfortable temperature when they are scheduled to be home. Homeowners can set the temperature to use less cooling when they are normally away. Residents save three percent on energy costs for each degree they turn up the thermostat from 72 degrees. ENERGY STAR window and through-the-wall room air conditioners also typically include programmable thermostats or timers.
- A Home Needs Shades Too
Block out heat by keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day, especially on south facing windows.
- Take the Whole-House Approach
Houses work as a system. Insulation, heating and air-conditioning, air sealing, water heating, ductwork, windows and doors all work together to determine efficiency. A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor can perform a home energy assessment to help residents map a plan to improve a home’s energy efficiency.
- Turn It Off
Save electricity and reduce waste heat by shutting off lights. Seldom used home electronics should actually be unplugged from the wall. Items like DVD players, VCRs and cordless phones use 40 percent of their energy while in the off position to power functions like clocks and remote controls.
Additional tips for:
Use your microwave oven as much as possible in the summer rather than your regular oven. You’ll stay cooler and save energy.
When buying appliances, compare yellow EnergyGuide labels, not just prices, to make sure you buy an energy efficient unit.
The size of your pan should match the size of your burner for the highest efficiency.
To save even more energy, defer use until off-peak hours, after 6:30 pm and before 9:30 am.
Put full loads in the dishwasher and use the “energy saving” setting for the drying cycle, or let dishes air dry to reduce energy use.
- Clothes Washers
Do your laundry during off-peak hours, after 6:30 p.m. and before 9:30 a.m., and hang your clothes outdoors in the summer.
When doing your laundry, use a cold water wash on full loads.
Clean the lint trap regularly to keep it running more efficiently and make sure the exhaust isn’t blocked.
Horizontal-axis clothes washers (front loaders) are far more gentle and effective on your clothes, and are much more energy efficient when compared to traditional clothes washers.
Defrost your refrigerator regularly so it can operate more efficiently, and do so only on weekends to avoid peak load.
Vacuum and clean the condenser coils, motor and evaporator pan of your refrigerator once or twice a year, and leave space between your refrigerator and the surrounding walls and cabinets to allow air to circulate around the coils.
Keep your refrigerator away from the stove and heat registers. By being next to those items, you’re making your refrigerator work twice as hard and decreasing its overall efficiency.
Test your refrigerator and freezer by placing a thermometer inside for an hour. The reading should be as follows:
Select a refrigerator/freezer with energy-saving features. It will use 20% less electricity than the standard model, saving you approximately $60 a year.
Avoid purchasing used refrigerators, as an older refrigerator often uses more than three times the energy of today’s models.
Make sure the seals on your refrigerator, freezer and oven doors fit tightly.