July arrived this week with a bang of fireworks and the delightful smell of barbecue. As the summer months continue, the temperature will rise. This can leave the typical homeowner feeling hot, cranky and overextended from paying higher energy bills. The smart, savvy homeowner will pay attention to these tips for a more “chill” summer.
- Use a smart thermostat. For every degree above 72, you will save up to 3% of cooling expenses. So, raise the temperature as high as comfort allows. Program the thermostat for higher temps when the home will be empty and lower before arriving home.
- Be a fan of fans. Proper fan use can allow the thermostat to be set up to 4 degrees higher. Turn fans off when the room is empty, as they work by cooling people with the wind chill effect.
- Bring the cool inside. When the temperature drops at night, open windows and turn on the fans. Close the windows before the mercury rises the next day to maximize the effect.
- Keep outside heat out. It probably goes without saying, but shut the doors and windows when it is warm outside. Also close blinds and curtains to block out direct sunlight. Survey the home for areas where the cool air may be escaping, such as the area around doors and windows.
- Don’t add more heat than necessary. Opt for grilling or microwave cooking instead of turning on the oven. If possible, run large appliances like the washer, dryer, and dishwasher at night when it is naturally cooler. Take cooler showers and/or use a vent to clear the hot and humid air before it escapes from the bathroom. Turn off large electronics when not in use.
- Stay hydrated. When the body is not properly hydrated it can become uncomfortable. Make sure to have a bottle of water at hand.
- Leave. Take a dip in the neighborhood pool, a picnic in a shady park, or take a ride in the car. The costs of such adventures may negate any energy savings, but everyone needs to get out from time to time. Why not enjoy some summertime fun instead of cranking up the AC and watching a movie?
- Go green outside. Planting trees near the house can reduce air conditioning needs up to 35%. Trees that will reach a mature height of 25 feet or more should be planted about 10 to 20 feet from the home on the east and west. Trees that shade the air conditioning unit will help it run more efficiently as long as they don’t block airflow to the unit.
- Give your home a vacation. When the family is away for an extended period, set the thermostat to a very high temperature or turn it off; and turn off fans, lights and electronics. Unplug items that draw power even when powered down. Close blinds or curtains to keep the heat away.
Don’t let the heat get you down, homeowner. You can have an enjoyable time and keep your costs manageable. We wish you a fun and cool July!