30 Days of Summer Savings

Summer Savings

 

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What a change a month can make!  The cool, rainy spring is over, and summer temperatures are already hitting the 90-degree mark.  With summer heat comes summer power bills.  The largest portion of your summer electric bill is associated with cooling your home.  Below are some things you can do to stay cool and save money.  

 

 

Place a power strip near a TV in your home and plug in the TV along with any gaming systems, sound systems, DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc. and turn it off when not in use for an extended period of time.

Electronic devices are known to use electricity even when they are powered down.  Turning off the power strip to which they are connected will help ensure you are not wasting your dollars on energy-sucking appliances when you are not using them.

Use a slow-cooker rather than an oven.

The kitchen can amount to 15-20% of your monthly energy use, which includes appliance use and refrigeration.  Using a slow cooker will cost a third of the price of using an electric oven or stove, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Complete your home profile (click here)(link is external) to get quick tips and fixes to help you reduce your home energy use and costs. (let's gauge how efficient your home already is.  We have a great tool to help with this.)

Once your home profile is complete, take a moment to look over the recommended projects for your home. Projects are available with varying levels of priority, cost and difficulty.

Change your central HVAC system filter.  If you have done this recently, double check them to ensure they're not already dirty.

Although the manufacturer's recommendations might say the filters are good for longer than three months, we recommend changing them out every quarter.  Dirty filters can impact your home comfort and increase your electricity bill.

Limit your shower length to 5-7 minutes, and encourage others living in your household to do the same.

Water heating can amount to 12% of your monthly energy use.  Limiting showers to 5 -7 minutes, especially if you have a large household can add up to big savings pretty quickly.  Set a timer to make sure you don't go over 7 minutes.  Think of creative ways to incentivize those who like long showers and might have trouble limiting them to 5 -7 minutes.

Commit to check your ductwork or have someone check your ductwork for leaks.

Leaks at the return vents, air handler and supply can be a major source of high bills.  Mobile home owners: Check at the grill, cross over duct and down flow air handler for leaks.  If you find leaks, head to the nearest home improvement store and grab some HVAC tape or duct sealant.  Follow manufacturer's directions for application.

When cooling (or heating), keep your windows locked. (take a few minutes to ensure all the windows in your home are not only closed, but locked.)

For security reasons, we hope you keep your windows locked anyway, but it actually helps save money when cooling (or heating) your home.  Locking your windows ensures they are sealed properly and closes any gaps there might be for air to escape.

Set both the upper and lower water heater thermostats no higher than 120°F.

Remember, water heating can amount to 12% of your monthly energy use.  If your water heater temperature is already at 120°F, consider lowering it even more to maximize savings.

Check to be sure return air grills are not blocked by furniture or bookcases.

Heating and air conditioning are usually the largest loads in a home and are responsible for 40-50% of your monthly energy costs.  It is vital to spend extra attention (and dollars, if needed) to ensure your HVAC system is running properly and nothing is prohibiting it from doing its job.

Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.

Dishwashers have become more efficient over the last decade, with new EPA Energy Star rated machines using as little as three gallons of water per load.  But like any appliance, the benefits it provides will evaporate unless it is operated efficiently.  Be sure your dishwasher is filled to the max before running it.

Supplement your home's cooling by turning on ceiling fans when you are in the room and turning up the AC thermostat.

Remember, heating and cooling accounts for 40-50% of our home energy costs, and ceiling fans can help reduce that. Using ceiling fans while you're in the room means you will be comfortable with your AC unit at a higher temperature. Don't forget to turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.

When using your ceiling fan in the summer, be sure the blades are spinning counter-clockwise to maximize its cooling potential.

Remember, heating and cooling accounts for 40-50% of our home energy costs, and ceiling fans can help reduce that. Again, don't forget to turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.

Don't let the water run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.

Remember, water heating accounts for up to 12% of your monthly energy use. The less you use, the less work it takes to heat up the water.

Install window treatments - especially on west-facing windows.

There are countless ways to keep the heat from coming through your windows - from thermal-backed curtains to solar shades. Commit today to explore the possibilities and plan for energy efficient window treatments on your west-facing windows. If you already have curtains or blinds, be sure they are closed during the day - especially late afternoons.

Ensure windows and doors are properly weather-stripped and use door sweeps.

Remember, heating and cooling are typically responsible for 40-50% of your home's monthly energy costs. One thing we don't want to do is pay for that air to seep through the cracks around our doors and windows. Take a few minutes today to check your doors and windows and if needed, visit a home improvement store to purchase weather stripping or door sweeps.

Check the dryer vent hose to ensure it is securely fastened to your dryer and clear of lent.

Laundry can account for 5-9% of your monthly energy use and you certainly don't want heat from your dryer warming up your home in the summer. Today, look behind your dryer to make sure everything is connected properly.

Set the refrigerator temperature to 34° to 37°F and the freezer temperature to 0° to 5°F to ensure maximum efficiency.

The kitchen can amount to 15-20% of your monthly energy use, and refrigeration is a large factor. Be sure your appliances are operating efficiently all year long by adopting this practice now.

Turn off unnecessary lighting.

Traditional lighting can account for 12% of your monthly energy use. While energy-saving light bulbs can slice lighting costs by 75%, it is still important to get into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room. Most adults practice this well, but kids..that's a different story. Try incentivizing those in your household who have a hard time remembering to flip the switch when they leave a room.

Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads.

Laundry can amount to 5-9% of your monthly energy use. If you don't already practice today's challenge, you can begin right away. A little hot water saved at a time goes a long way toward savings.

Set your thermostat no lower than 78°F in the summer. Although this might feel warm now, it will feel cool on a 90° plus day.

Remember, heating and cooling account for over half of an average home's energy use. Setting your thermostat to 78°F when you are home and even higher when you are away ensures you are conserving energy and saving money. You also want to avoid setting your thermostat lower than normal when you get home in an attempt to cool your home faster. It actually doesn't cool your home faster and could lead to unnecessary expense.  *Recommended smart thermostat settings may vary based on load control options.  Click here for more information.

You can save 6-8% on your electric bill for every degree your thermostat is raised above 78°F in the summer.

If keeping your thermostat set at 78°F or above is too toasty for comfort, you can keep the house cool while you're home but save energy when you're not there. While away from home for longer stretches of time (four or more hours), SmartEnergy.com recommends letting the temperature rise all the way up to 88 degrees.  *Recommended smart thermostat settings may vary based on load control options.  Click here for more information.

Only do full loads of laundry.

If you run the washing machine with small load settings, the machine is still using most of the water and most of the energy of a full load. A typical household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Check to make sure your air filters are facing in the correct direction. Look for the arrow on the side of the filter.

It almost sounds a bit silly, but it is easy to install an air filter incorrectly. Check to make sure the filter is installed according to the arrow on the side of it.

Install a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat allows you to set your thermostat for the times you will be away from home so the air conditioner is not running when it doesn't need to.  Thanks to Smart Home technology, some programmable thermostats allow you to control them from your mobile device. Check out our Smart Thermostat Program and receive a discount on a new programmable thermostat today.

Using caulk or foam sealant, seal gaps and holes in walls, floors and ceilings.

We admit, this is not a fun task. Most people do not enjoy crawling around on floors and climbing ladders to seal cracks and gaps in their home. Air sealing is an inexpensive way to lower energy costs and improve comfort. When sealing, look for cracks around windows and where wires and pipes pass through. Be sure to also caulk along the baseboards on outer walls with clear sealant. Yes, this takes time, but it immediately helps keep cool air inside during the summer and hot air out.

Install a water heater wrap, also known as a water heater blanket, per manufacturer's instructions.

A water heater wrap (or blanket, or cover) acts as insulation for the tank to prevent heat from escaping so that your water heater does not expend as much energy keeping water warm for you. You can find them priced as low as $20. Remember, water heating can account for up to 12% of your monthly energy use, so if you have an extra $20, this would be a great purchase to make.

Fix dripping faucets.

With water heating accounting for up to 12% of your monthly energy use, it's so important to perform simple tasks like fixing dripping faucets.

Clean your dryer's lint trap before each load.

Laundry accounts for 5-9% of your monthly energy use, so it's important to take every opportunity to make sure the process is efficient as possible. Add this quick and easy task to your laundry to-do list before you run the dryer each time.

Make sure your outdoor lighting contains a photocell and/or a motion sensor so it is not using electricity when it doesn't need to be.

Lighting can account for 12% of your monthly energy use, and we don't want to forget about our outdoor lighting. Make sure the lights on your porch, surrounding your garage doors, in your flower beds, etc. are "smart" about when they are turning on and off. With today's smart home technology, lights with schedules are easy to find and often include free mobile apps to pair them with.