June 10, 2015
While air conditioning is the most comfortable and convenient way to cool your home, it is also expensive. On average, air condition accounts for 20% of a household's annual energy bill. To help cut costs, there are various COOL Smart rebates for specific units.
- Conduct an annual HVAC check-up. Your HVAC unit is the appliance that consumes the most energy in your home. Some HVAC manufacturers cover an annual check-up. If your unit is not covered by the manufacturer, hire a professional to inspect it and do a tune up to make sure it is in efficient working order. If the unit is getting old and draining energy, consider investing in a new one. The savings in the long run will be significant.
- Replace your HVAC filter regularly. A clean air filter is crucial to the efficient running of your HVAC unit. Be sure to change your filters every one to three months—particularly if you’re using the air conditioner often. This will increase the unit’s efficiency—and save you money.
- Turn up your thermostat while you’re out of the house. There’s no need to keep your house comfortably cool while you’re at work for eight or nine hours of the day. Leave your thermostat around 75 degrees while you’re out of the house. A programmable thermostat can help regulate temperatures throughout the day. There are some wireless thermostat options, which make managing temperatures even easier because they can be managed via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Many companies offer incentives and rebates for these devices.
· Use fans to increase airflow. This also allows you to leave the thermostat temperature higher. Rather than rely solely on an air conditioner to cool your home, use fans—which require little energy—to move cool air around your house. Switching a ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise and push air toward the ceiling will help draw cool air up towards the ceiling and move it throughout a room. A whole house fan, installed in an attic, can help increase airflow throughout the entire house.
- Seal air leaks. In the summer, you’ll be paying to cool your home with air conditioners or fans, so don’t let that cool air seep through cracks and leaks in your house. If you detect a leak or think there might be one, contact HES, which will seal leaks at no cost.
- Block out the sun. Sunlight brings brightness and energy into your house, but it also brings heat. Preventing too much sunlight from beaming into your home can keep it cool. Use window shades, drapes, and blinds to block out the sun. A well-placed plant can also help. If you like a light-filled house, then do these things while you're at work or out of the house to keep it cool and save energy while you're gone.
While there are many ways to optimize your appliances' use during the summer to cut down on energy costs, if your appliances are out-of-date, you'll be using more energy than you need to be. Research newer, more energy-efficient appliances, which will come with available rebates and incentives.
- Load up the fridge. Filling up your refrigerator with food will help it maintain a cool temperature when the door is open. This is particularly valuable in the summer, when hot air in the house and around the fridge can quickly warm up the inside temperature when the door is open.
- Wash dishes in a dishwasher—not by hand. In general, dishwashers require less water to wash dishes than hand washing. So fill up your dishwasher and push a button. It will save you money—and time.
- Run a full dishwasher. Along with using the dishwasher, always run it full. The pre-set wash cycles use the same amount of water no matter how many dishes are in the unit, so maximize its energy and water use by filling it with as many dishes as possible.
- Avoid heating up your house. Ovens, dryers, dishwashers, and other appliances can add additional heat to the house. Leave dryer and dishwasher use to the cool evening hours. Rely on toaster ovens and microwaves for heating up food. Use an outdoor grill instead of an oven to save costs on cooking. In general, avoid using heat-producing and energy hungry-appliances between the hottest hours of the day—usually 2-8pm.
Even though the summer is a time when energy costs rise, saving energy is a year-round need. To learn more about how to save energy this summer and throughout the year, read the article “How to Get the Most Out of Your House Fans."