Summer Energy Efficiency Tips
Steps to help lower your bill when temperatures start rising!
Set your air conditioner thermostat at 78ºF (or even higher if you can bear it) and bump it up to 85ºF when you leave for an extended period of time. Setting the thermostat higher will keep your HVAC unit from working as hard to overcome outside temperatures.
Replace filters on a monthly basis. Have your HVAC unit servied regulary. If your unit is more than 10 years old and it has difficulty keep your home at the set temperature, have it checked. You might find that it is time to replace it with a new unit with a higher SEER rating (higher efficiency.)
Operate your dryer and dishwasher at night on hot days and let your dishes air dry. Avoid heat-generating incandescent lighting and use a microwave, toaster oven or outdoor grill instead of the oven when possible. It's best to avoid the use of major appliances between 2 and 8 p.m. Why? Appliances generate heat - which your cooling unit must overcome.
Set your water heater to 120ºF.
Close blinds and windows during the day and keep them open at night.
Window, ceiling and whole-house fans are also low-cost ways to keep your home a little cooler. Set ceiling fans to blow COUNTER-CLOCKWISE (as you look up at the fan). This will push the airflow downward, blowing it across your skin and giving you a "wind chill" effect that makes the room temperature feel cooler.
Use a power strip to turn off multiple electronic devices when not in use. (TVs, DVD players, etc.)
Wash and dry only full loads. (Don't overload your washer or dryer but it takes about the same amount of electricity to wash and dry a single items vs. a full load.)
Inspect doors and windows for gaps or cracks around the casings. Especially in older homes, settling can cause gaps to form around windows which leads to cooling loss during the summer. A little caulk can go a long way in improving this situation.
If you are in an older home and have single pane windows, consider either replacing your windows with double pane windows or at least installing storm windows.
Have a certified HVAC technician inspect your home's ductwork for leaks. Sealing ductwork leaks can keep the cooler from escaping before it gets into your house.
Insulate your water heater. A water jacket heater not only makes your water hear function more efficiently, it keeps the unit from generating additional heat that your cooling unit must overcome.
Finally, while it may not lower your electric bill, always stay hydrated! Drink lots of water and if you begin to feel faint or dizzy, get to a cool place immediately.
For more information:
Joe Holmes, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator