As you know, electricity varies with the weather, as changes in the temperature and humidity affect the need for heating and cooling. Homeowners and renters see the largest seasonal variance, largely because of air conditioning use in the summer. In fact, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that residential electricity demand has both winter and summer peaks that can range as high as 67 billion kWh. According to the most recent data from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey, roughly 9 out of 10 U.S. homes are air conditioned by central units, individual (window, wall, or portable) units, or both. Other activities (such as the use of fans, dehumidifiers, and pool pumps, also increase summer electricity use in homes).
These seasonal patterns of electricity demand not only impact how much energy you end up consuming to keep your home comfortable, but they also impact a utility company’s costs for serving each customer, and therefore, the electricity rates paid. The best thing that you can do to reduce your energy bills throughout the extreme weather is to simply use less energy.
How to be Energy Sufficient this Summer
With the first day of summer just a few weeks away (falling this year on June 21st) and the warmer temperatures already sneaking in on us, now’s the time to make any last-minute modifications or upgrades to your home to ensure for optimal summer saving energy efficiency.. Below, you’ll find the top strategies to help you save energy this summer. Some of these tips will be easy things you can do on a daily basis to reduce your energy use, and others, simple upgrades you can make throughout your home reduce the amount of energy consumed.
1. Prevent hot air from entering your home
- Because new leaks can easily appear due to weather, this is one of the things you should be doing at the start of each new season
- Seal any cracks and openings using caulk or weather-stripping
2. Keep your cooling system running efficiently
- At the beginning of spring, you ensured that your cooling system was clean and operating at maximum capacity. Great. What’s just as important is to maintain it throughout the seasons – routinely replace or clean filters, condensate drains, vacuum registers regularly, and clean the area around the air conditioning coils and coil fins. Just by replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your AC’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%
- Ensure that furniture and other objects aren’t blocking the airflow by placing them at least a few feet away
3. Use your thermostat to help maximize efficiency
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible (this is usually around 78 degrees for most people)
- Keep your home warmer than normal when you’re not going to be there
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust temperatures based on your settings so that you don’t have to remember to manually do either of the above as you come and go throughout the day
- Because your thermostat will sense the heat from appliances and cause your AC to run longer than necessary, don’t place lamps or any sort of electronic near it
4. Be mindful of your electricity usage while cooking or completing household chores
- Avoid using the oven on really hot days. Instead, use the stove, microwave, or even better – grill outside!
- During the hottest times of the day, minimize activities that generate a lot of heat in general, like running a dishwasher, washing machine, or using hot devices like hairdryers or curling irons
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Skip the dryer and allow your clothes to hang dry. Similarly, turn off the drying cycle on your dishwasher and open it once the wash cycle is complete to air dry your dishes
5. Shower smart
- Always opt for showers instead of baths, and take shorter showers
- Lower the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity from your home
6. Use your windows to retain cool air and keep hot air out
- If you live somewhere where it’s naturally cooler at night, turn off your cooling system and open the windows. When you wake up in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air
- Install appropriate window coverings. According to the Department of Energy, 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. Most window treatments will result in energy savings
7. Use fans and other ventilation tricks to help cool your home
- Using a fan creates a wind chill effect and helps you feel cooler naturally
- If used simultaneous to the AC, a ceiling fan will can help raise the thermostat setting nearly 4 degrees without any reduction in comfort
- As with lights, turn ceiling fans off when you leave the room (remember that the wind chill effect applies to people, so running the fan while you’re not in a room is an unnecessary waste of energy)
There are so many things to love about summer. Don’t spend this fun season worrying about your electricity bill. Get your home ready now using these tips and start planning your outdoor adventures today.
Kiwi Energy Can Help You Have an Energy-Efficient Summer
One of our top priorities at Kiwi Energy is helping customers be more energy-efficient and live more sustainably. We hope that optimizing your home for energy-efficiency this summer, you can also reduce your overall environmental impact. If you’re not already Kiwi Energy customer, what are you waiting for! Give us a call today to learn about how you can join us in our mission of creating a more sustainable future! 1.877.208.7636.