7 Tricks to Boost Summer Energy Savings
Maximize your summer energy savings and save on air conditioning costs during the summer months.
Summer is in full swing, and everyone’s taking advantage of lots of time outside. Whether your sunny days are spent grilling, gardening, visiting the beach, or hanging by the pool, don’t let the heat the day increase your summer energy expenses.
Save Energy on Air Conditioning
According to the US Energy Information Administration, air conditioning costs make up an average of 12% of U.S. household energy bills. That means, every year, about 6 weeks’ worth of your energy expenses goes just to pay for your AC! The cost for home cooling jump in the summer months. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can try to save energy on air conditioning costs – and save money while you’re at it.
Better Windows Boost Energy Savings in the Summer Months
Choose Energy-Efficient Windows. Older, inefficient windows let in a tremendous amount of heat along with that daylight during long summer days. That leaves air conditioners working much harder to cool the home. The fact is, windows are about 86% glass, which is the easiest place for the sun’s heat to transfer into the home – unless you’ve got high-tech glass technology on your side.
For instance, Performax54 windows feature high-efficiency Thermostat glass that works with your home, reflecting radiant heat away from the house during the summer months, reducing your air conditioning costs by lowering your dependence on running the AC. Meanwhile, this smart glass technology actually allows some heat to pass through the window in the winter for passive heating benefits. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows with smart glass helps with energy savings all year long!
Air Sealing for Energy Savings
Eliminate Air Leaks. Unsurprisingly, keeping windows and door closed will help keep conditioned air inside during warm summer months. But are you paying attention to other ways warm air is replacing cool air in your home? Take time to look for gaps, drafts, and “hot spots” that you can eliminate with a few easy steps.
For example, using metal tape to seal any holes in your AC ductwork will ensure cool air doesn’t leak out of the ducts before it reaches the rooms in your home. Weatherstripping around doors helps as well, along with using expanding spray foam insulation to fill gaps in exterior wall penetrations, such as around outdoor spigots or furnace venting.
And if you do invest in new windows to help improve your energy savings, be sure the window replacement company you choose takes steps to air seal around your new windows. Even an 1/16-inch gap around your windows is the same as having a brick-sized hole in the side of your house!
Summer Thermostat Settings – and Keeping Your House Cool Without AC
Install Programmable Thermostats. The right windows and great air sealing will help reduce your air conditioning costs, but you can also consider raising thermostat set point for a period of time. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees during the day in the summer months. Sound high? Consider the energy savings! DOE says you can save as much as 10% annually on home cooling and heating bills by making thermostat adjustments for 8 hours a day.
A programmable thermostat makes this easy with set-it-and-forget-it capabilities. Just set your schedule for 78 degrees while the family is away at work or school, and you’ll start saving. Be sure to do the same when the family is on vacation and the house is empty! If you can’t make the jump to 78 degrees all at once, try making adjustments one degree at a time until you find the top of your comfort zone.
Switch Your Ceiling Fans. Most ceiling fans feature a switch to reverse the fan’s direction in the summer and winter. This is a great way to rely less on air conditioning for home cooling. In the summer, fans should run counterclockwise to provide a breeze for the people below. With the AC off and fans used wisely in occupied rooms, you’ll know you’re not paying to cool unused spaces.
Check Your Attic Insulation. For one more step to save energy on air conditioning, think about your house from the top down. While you’re cool and comfortable in the living room, the sun beats down on your roof. No problem – all that heat is on top of the house, and heat rises, right? That’s what we’ve all been told, but the true lesson of thermodynamics is that heat moves toward cold. That means the only thing between the 150-degree roof and your 74– (or 78–) degree living space is the insulation inside your attic. A quick survey of your attic insulation can help you spot where you can improve the buffer between conditioned and unconditioned spaces, along with your home comfort.
Plant Shady Landscaping. Investing in shade-providing landscaping around the home can help too. Strategically placed shade trees can add curb appeal to your home, while also knocking down some of that hot sunlight from entering your home in the first place. Of course, shade trees can take time to grow in. Adding awnings, pergolas, porches and other structures can have the same effect faster.
Switch to LED Lighting. If you haven’t already made the switch from incandescent light bulbs, summer is the time to do it. Did you know an incandescent bulb’s primary output is actually heat, not light? Reduce unnecessary heat brought into your home, and add to your energy savings, by replacing incandescent lightbulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs.
Your home should be a comfortable respite from the heat of summer. And with these tips and tricks, you can feel confident that your budget for summer fun doesn’t get spent on your air conditioning costs.
Give ImproveIt a call today or fill out the form below to learn how we can help you save money on your energy bills all year long with new windows!