Keeping your home cool and your energy consumption low during the torrid months of summer is a challenge. The average household electricity bill for the June-through-August time period last year was a staggering $395, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The temps are climbing, and if you’re looking for ways to reduce your home energy use and save money, we’ve got some eco-friendly changes and upgrades you can make.
Seal and Insulate
If you have cracks and gaps in your foundation, windows or walls, you are letting cool, air-conditioned air escape and hot summer air in. Subsequently, your HVAC system is working harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Protect your home and wallet by ensuring these areas are properly sealed and your home is adequately insulated. Caulking around windows usually suffices, but if you have very old, rickety windows or window frames, replace them with energy-efficient ones. It’s one of the best things you can do to save energy.
Photo by Nieuw via Wikimedia Commons
Rethink Your Roofing
You won’t reduce your energy consumption by much if you don’t have a well-maintained, efficient roof. Depending on the climate, certain styles of roofing do better than others. In extremely hot climates, light-colored roofs help reflect the sun’s rays and keep your home cooler. Proper attic ventilation is a must—it removes warm air and moisture that cause your air conditioner to work harder and mold to grow.
Photo by Liadmaster via Wikimedia Commons
Upgrade Your HVAC System
Maintaining and regulating your home’s temperature accounts for more than half of your annual energy consumption costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you’re willing to replace your current heating and cooling system, these green HVAC technologies will significantly reduce your monthly costs.
Request your unit be placed in a sheltered, shaded area of your home to promote longevity and efficiency. If a replacement unit isn’t within your planned budget, you can still make the most of your current system by scheduling regular maintenance appointments and replacing your filters each month.
Employ the help of ceiling or freestanding fans during the summer months. Keep all doors and windows shut. When it starts cooling off outside, open those windows back up to allow for a nice cross-breeze—it’ll help keep your home at a comfortable level.
Photo by Achim Hering via Wikimedia Commons
Turn It off and Unplug
One of the easiest ways to reduce your home energy consumption: Always shut off and unplug your chargers, electronics and small appliances while you’re out during the day. There is no reason to keep everything plugged in, especially in light of the fact that these items continue to consume energy just by being plugged in. Make a habit of putting things away or storing items that are not receiving regular daily use.
Photo by Rennett Stowe via Wikimedia Commons