Summer is here, and it’s time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather!
But summer is also a time where energy usage increases tenfold. With kids out of school and some corporations offering “Summer Fridays,” you might be home more often to begin with. But the biggest offender is typically your air conditioning, which a lot of homeowners crank up in the summertime as they hide from the sweltering heat.
While you don’t want to be miserable around your home, there are certainly ways you can reduce your energy usage overall, which can save both money and the planet. Keep reading as we explore some of the best ideas to try out.
1. Adjust Your Thermostat
This is one of the more popular tips you’ll hear, and the good news is, it’s relatively low effort! The idea is simple: take a look at your thermostat, and try to stomach setting it just slightly above the norm. The Department of Energy suggests setting it at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, which can save you up to 10% in energy costs! If that is too warm for you, just try setting it for as high as you’re comfortable. Ultimately, keeping the difference between the indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature as small as possible is the key. A programmable thermostat can help with this, as it will auto-adjust throughout the day.
If you’ll be out of the house, set it a bit higher than that (try 85° F), and the same goes for when you’re sleeping. You might even consider turning the system off entirely if you’re away from home. Of course, you’ll want to take into account your personal situation to find the right number. If there are pets in your home, for example, you may not want to go that high.
Opting for a fan instead of your air conditioning can also help tremendously. Ceiling fans are ideal for cooling an entire room, while a personal or portable fan can target one or two people directly and are relatively inexpensive. A decent fan should allow you to bump your thermostat up about four degrees and still maintain the same comfort level.
2. Check Your Appliances and Systems
The next tip is something that is a must on your homeowner to-do list. Once or twice a year, plan to do a routine check of your heating and/or cooling systems to make sure everything is running effectively and efficiently. You’ll also need to regularly vacuum or clear out your vents, as dust tends to build up throughout the year. A professional tune-up is often worth the cost, as the technician will do a full clean-out of the system as well as perform any preventative maintenance needed.
If it’s time to upgrade your air conditioning unit, it’s a great opportunity to invest in a top-of-the-line model that will save you money in the long-term. Heating and cooling account for almost half of the energy usage in your home, so it’s important to do your research here! Look for Energy Star-certified systems that have good Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings for the best options.
3. Mind Your Water
Water usage also typically goes up in the summer, from watering your lawn more to taking extra showers. Outside of completely “zeroscaping” your yard (getting rid of the grass in favor of rocks, gravel, and low-water plants like succulents), the best tip here is to adjust when you’re watering your lawn. Try watering in the early morning or evening, so that the water doesn’t quickly evaporate into the hot summer air.
As for your personal water use, installing low-flow water fixtures can also help. Typically you can find these options for shower heads and toilets, as well as your outdoor sprinkler.
Finally, water heating can also use up a lot of energy—about 18% of your home’s energy use, in fact! To help reduce this, consider setting your water heater to no more than 120 degrees, and be mindful of the water you use while showering. Keep it short, and you’ll see the difference on both your water and heating bill!
4. Upgrade Your Windows
Effort: Low to High (but worth it!)
If you own an older home and/or if you’ve been slacking on the regular home maintenance, you may actually be contributing to the problem! Cracks and air leaks in your windows could be letting in the hot summer air, despite your best efforts to keep things cool indoors.
To combat this, you’ll need to weatherproof your windows and doors. Filling cracks and gaps with caulking or weatherstripping is an easy way to do this, and it can go a long way.
Even better, consider upgrading your windows entirely to really save! Although it’s a high upfront cost, this is one swap that pays back dividends over the years in energy efficiency and your overall comfort. Double-pane windows can reduce energy usage by up to 18 percent during the summer, and advancements in glass coating technology like low-e glass. One of the main benefits of low-e glass is that it minimizes the UV and infrared light that comes through your windows and glass doors, which can reduce your energy use.
5. Unplug and Recharge
This one might be the easiest tip of them all! It’s simple: be mindful of when you use your devices and appliances, and unplug them (if you can) when they’re not in use!
For the former, think about electronics like your TV, computer, and even your phone charger. Unplugging these items when you’re not using them can save you up to $100 per year, according to the Department of Energy!
The latter refers to appliances like your dishwasher and clothes dryer. While you can’t easily unplug these, just reconsider when you’re using them, as they can put out a lot of heat! If you can, wait until the sun goes down to run them.
Get Ready for Summer
Ready to reduce your bills and elevate your home at the same time? At Cover Glass, we’re proud to offer beautiful frameless glass products that do both, thanks to their weatherproofed properties. Cover Glass is better than standard glass because of this, creating an energy-efficient environment you’ll be proud to call home.