I love summer. It has always been my favorite season. I love hot weather. I love the summer vacation break that I’m lucky enough to still get. As an adult I also love that it brings with it really low energy bills. I know that not everyone gets to enjoy lower energy bills in the summer. In many cases it truly depends on where you live. I live in a northern state, so it’s not often hot enough for me to need to turn on the air conditioning, but keeping the air off is far from the only way I keep my energy bill down. In fact I’ve gotten my bill so low this summer that my bill was almost too low for them to send me a bill! To help you save a little money on those high energy bills I’ve put together a list of 13 summer energy saving tips.
13 Summer Energy Saving Tips
1. Dry Your Clothes on the Line
Not using the dryer can save a lot of money. If the weather is nice take you clothes outside to dry! I actually have a retractable clothing line. The main unit is attached to one part of my house and then a hook is mounted onto my garage. When I need to dry clothes I pull the cord out and attach it to the hook. When I’m done I put the cord back. Now it’s not in the way or taking up play space in my backyard. I know it seems pretty old fashioned to dry your clothes outside, but take a look around some time and I bet you’ll see a lot of people are actually doing it.
2. Use Solar Lighting
I hate big outdoor lights. I grew up in the country so a bunch of bright lights on at night time is, in my opinion, bright and obnoxious. That’s not to say I want to walk around in the dark though either. What I love to use are solar lights. They actually can give off a decent amount of light. In fact they easily can light up the path to your house. They have a solar panel on top that soaks up energy all day. Once enough light is gone they’ll turn on, and they’ll stay on until the rechargeable battery runs out.
3. Open Up Windows
If the highs are in the mid 80’s or lower I usually leave the windows open. If you open most of your windows up then you can truly get a nice breeze going in the house. I know that a lot of people can’t handle the heat of the day though. If you do need to use the air conditioning during the day then see if you can at least open your windows up at night. Many times the evening temps can get quite cool (depending on where you live). Doing this can save you money by not running the air at night, and the next day the house can start off at a low temperature so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard. If you feel the open windows make it a bit too warm for you at night try turning a fan on.
4. Close Up the House
I may live in a northern state, but we still get a lot of humidity. It’s amazing how much cooler the house can be if we close all the windows early on a hot day. I can often do this and never need to turn the air-conditioning on. You have to decide what heat level is too much for you, but I usually close up the house if it’s going to get into the mid 80’s or higher. The important thing to remember is that you have to shut all of the windows before it starts to get hot. This way you trap the cooler air inside. Usually you want to do it by 7:30, but it does depend on how cool the start of the morning is.
5. Don’t Live in an Igloo
I know that some people can’t handle a certain level of heat, but if you can keep the thermostat a bit higher you’ll save yourself a lot of money. In fact, according to DTE Energy, for every degree above 72 degrees that you set your thermostat, you could reduce your energy bill by as much as 3 percent.
6. Cool Off with Fans
This is one of my best summer energy saving tips because fans can be a great way to stay cool. When you run the air conditioning you’re paying to cool down the entire house, but a fan can help keep the people cool in just the room that they’re in. If you utilize fans than you can keep your thermostat at a higher temperature which we already said can save a lot of money. The important thing to note is that fans cool off people, but they don’t actually change the temperature in a room, so don’t leave a fan on in a room that you’re not in thinking that it will cool it down.
7. Don’t Use the Oven
To keep from raising the temperature in the house consider other ways of cooking that don’t require the use of the oven or the stove. Both can add a lot of unnecessary heat to your home, and it often comes at the hottest time of the day. Instead consider grilling outside or using the microwave. If those aren’t options than try cooking items ahead of time during cooler hours or cook things that don’t take much time. This is what I do when I make my BLT Salad on really hot days. I boil the eggs in the morning and then I can quickly cook a few chicken nuggets without adding much heat to the house.
8. Use an Exhaust Fan
While regular fans don’t cool a room down, exhaust fans can keep your home from warming up. If you do have to use the stove or the oven than turn on the exhaust fan to help drive the hot air outside. Also, make sure that everyone in your home uses the bathroom exhaust fan while showering or bathing. This will help blow the humid air outside so it won’t add heat and humidity to the rest of your house.
9. Create Shade
One of the easiest ways to keep your home cool is by creating shade to keep the hot sunlight from heating up your home. You can add both interior and exterior shading devices to your home. Some ways to do it are with window film, solar screens, awnings, blinds, planting trees, etc. The most important areas to do this are on the western and southern facing sides of your home.
10. Use Natural Light
There is a lot of daylight during the summer months. Use it to your advantage! I bet you don’t really need to turn lights in your home on as early as you do. Certainly there are some things that require more lighting, but sitting around watching TV and a lot of other activities don’t. You’ll save yourself quite a chunk of change by leaving the lights off as long as you can.
11. Change Light Bulbs
Change every light bulbs in your house to CFL or LED light bulbs. The replacement will not only save you money because these types of bulbs use less electricity, but these types of bulbs give off less heat. The last thing you need on a hot day is to add even more heat to your home.
11. Run the Dishwasher During Cool Times
Don’t run your dishwasher during the heat of the day since it gives off both heat and humidity. If you do it during a cool time of the day the cooler temperatures can help offset the heat so you’re air conditioning won’t have to work as hard. As an extra tip chose to let your dishes air dry instead of using the drying feature to save on electricity.
13. Window Air Conditioning Units
If you don’t have central air, or if you have certain rooms that you need to cool down differently, than window air conditioning units are a great option. When purchasing one make sure you get one that states that it’s an Energy Saving unit and one that can sense the air temperature so it will turn off at the desired temp. There are other ways to keep the electrical cost down for these units though. Place the window unit in a window that gets shade. That will keep the unit cooler so it won’t have to work as hard to create cold air. Also, make sure to seal the sides of the unit around the window frame to keep any hot air from coming in and to keep the cold air from going out. Finally, be sure to clean the filter once a month.
There you have it. 13 different summer energy saving tips. I hope these help lower your summer electric bills and ease the strain on your budget. As an added tip check to see if your electric company has a premium charge time. Some companies charge extra for electrical use during peak use times. During those times you really don’t want to run things like your dishwasher. No need to spend extra for something that can be done at another time!