The tips below are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills in the heat of summer. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements to your home.
Fast and Free
Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.
- Turn up your thermostat. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather. (Savings: 1 - 3% per degree, for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees)
Use your appliances wisely. To help prevent electricity outages, avoid running your appliances during peak hours—from 4p.m. to 6 p.m.—or anytime an electricity emergency is declared.
- Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes. Always use cold water to rinse clothes. (Savings: 4%).
- Line dry clothes whenever you can. (Save up to 5%)
- When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use. (Savings: 0.5%)<
- Conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead. (Savings: 1%)
- Operate swimming pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently. Reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to 4 to 5 hours, and only during off-peak time. (Savings: 1-2% per hour of reduction)
Eliminate wasted energy.
- Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use. (Savings: 2%)
- Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren't in use-most new electronics use electricity even when switched "off." Turn computers and printers off at the power strip. (Savings: 1-2%)
- Unplug or recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don't really need it. This will save you $150 per year! (Savings: 10-20%)
Inexpensive Energy Solutions
Make a quick trip to your local hardware store to purchase inexpensive energy saving tools and equipment.
- Replace air conditioner filters. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit. (Savings: 1-2%)
- Plug your home's leaks. Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows, and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. (Savings: up to 2%)
Choose Energy Star® products.
- Buy Energy Star® certified table lamps and light fixtures, and replace your incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with Energy Star® compact fluorescent bulbs. For example, install compact fluorescent bulbs in your porch light if you leave it on overnight. (Savings: for each bulb you'll save 0.2% for each hour the bulb operates on a typical day. Therefore, replacing an incandescent bulb that burns 10 hours per day will save 2%)
- Buy Energy Star® certified torchieres. (Savings: up to 1% for each hour/day that it's on)
- Install an Energy Star® programmable thermostat. (Savings: 1-3%)
Good Energy-Saving Investments
Planning to do some remodeling soon? Time to replace old appliances? Consider these energy efficiency suggestions when you make purchases.
- Install a whole house fan. A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents. Use after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees, and in the early morning to cool your house and help reduce your air conditioning use. (Savings: up to 5%)
- Install window shading. Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. For additional future savings, use strategically planted trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home. (Savings: 5%)
- Invest in a new air conditioner unit. If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an Energy Star® air conditioner. (Savings: up to 10%)
- Seal your ducts. Leaking ductwork accounts for 25% of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. (Savings: 10 -20%)
- Replace your refrigerator with an Energy Star® model. Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design. (Savings: 10%)
- Increase attic insulation. If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30. (Savings: 10%)
- Install Energy Star® windows. If your windows are due for replacement, Energy Star® windows can make your house more comfortable year-round. (Savings: up to 10%)
*The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.
The following Web sites have additional information on home energy savings: