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Home Energy-Saving Tips for Summer

In this guide, we offer 18 home energy-saving tips for summer that will help you save energy and cut your utility bills during the hottest months of the year.
Home Energy-Saving Tips for Summer

Getting Started

Summer is a season of beautiful weather and long, sunny days—and it's also the season of high energy bills. Fighting the heat means running the AC, and many everyday activities, such as turning on the oven, can further increase the temperature of your home. Below, we offer our top home energy-saving tips for the summer months.

18 Tips to Save Energy at Home

  1. Maintain your HVAC unit.

    Maintain your HVAC unit - If you have a central air conditioning unit, you should schedule a maintenance visit once a year, ideally in early spring, so you can be ready for hot summers.
    If you have a central air conditioning unit, you should schedule a maintenance visit once a year, ideally in early spring, so you can be ready for hot summers. A technician will inspect the unit, clean the system, check the fluid levels, perform any necessary maintenance, and run a test to make sure that everything works. This maintenance will ensure that your model will run as efficiently as possible and not waste any unnecessary power. It will also help to lower your risk of the unit malfunctioning during the hottest months when it's working the hardest—and when you need air conditioning the most.
  2. Check your seals and insulation.

    You're paying for all that cool air, so don't let it escape! Inspect your home's doors and windows, making sure that they are all properly sealed and there are no blockages or breaks. While you're at it, check out the insulation in your attic and basement as well. If you don't know what exactly to look for, you can hire a professional inspector or energy auditor to review your home and identify any thermal weak spots that are affecting your energy efficiency.
  3. Keep your vents cleared.

    Keep your vents cleared - A couple of times a year, vacuum the vents to remove any lint, dirt, and other grime. It can keep the air from flowing freely.
    Your AC unit can be functioning in peak condition, but if the vents inside your house are in bad shape, your electric bill will suffer. Take inventory of all the vents in your home and make sure that no furniture or other obstructions are blocking the airflow. You might be surprised to find an unknown vent lurking behind a couch. A couple of times a year, vacuum the vents to remove any lint, dirt, and other grime. You don't want that gunk circulating in the air anyways, and it can keep the air from flowing freely as well. If the grime is really caked on, you might have to wipe it down with a damp cloth and cleaning solution.
  4. Close the blinds and curtains.

    A dose of sunshine can help you wake up and boost your mood, but it will also heat up your house, increasing your electric bill. Close your blinds and curtains whenever the sun is at its peak to keep your home cool without expending extra energy. Make sure to keep curtains closed if you're going to be gone for the day or leaving for a trip. If your current blinds or curtains still let in too much light even when closed, you might want to look into getting some heavy blackout curtains, which will help keep things cool.
  5. Raise the temperature.

    Thermostat on wall set to 74°
    Raising the temperature on your thermostat is one of the best things you can do to save energy during the summer. Basically, the smaller the difference between the temperature inside your house and the temperature outside, the less electricity you will use. While this varies by geography and weather, 78°F is a good thermostat temperature to aim for during the summer. If this sounds too high to you, stay tuned to discover other ways to keep your house cool besides continuously running your AC.
  6. Invest in a smart thermostat.

    If constantly adjusting the thermostat sounds like a pain, or you always forget to adjust it when you leave the house, it might be worth it to invest in a smart thermostat. These thermostats can be adjusted remotely using an app on your smartphone, so you can change the temperature even when you're not in your home. You can also set pre-scheduled routines for the smart thermostat, so it turns on and off automatically. Some smart thermostats can also learn your heating and cooling preferences over time and will adjust on their own.
  7. Turn on the fan.

    Raising the temperature on your thermostat doesn't automatically mean you have to resign yourself to a hot, sticky room. One of the best energy-saving tips for summer is to ensure you have powerful ceiling fans that you can run in rooms to keep yourself cool. Yes, these fans use energy, but much less than running your AC all the time. A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you don't have ceiling fans installed, box or tower fans are a good substitute.
  8. Cook the smart way.

    Cook the smart way - Try not to fire up the oven unless you have to, and use other appliances such as a microwave or grill instead.
    Using the oven or stovetop to cook doesn't just use up energy on its own. It also raises the temperature of your home, which then requires more energy to bring back down. Try not to fire up the oven unless you have to, and use other appliances such as a microwave or grill instead. If you must bake something, use a toaster oven or convection oven that sits on the counter and plugs into the wall. These will use less energy and put off less heat. Summer is also a great time to prioritize foods that don't need to be heated, such as salads.
  9. Wash dishes the right way.

    While washing dishes by hand might seem like it would save a lot of energy, it actually ends up using a lot more water than a dishwasher (especially an energy-efficient dishwasher). Dishwashers use the same amount of water and energy no matter the size of the load, so try to only run full loads if you can in order to maximize the wash. If you really want to save energy, you can skip the drying cycle and let the dishes air-dry instead.
  10. Keep your food cold.

    A glass of cold juice or a bowl of ice cream is the perfect treat on a summer's day, which is why it's essential to make sure your fridge is in tiptop shape. You should set your thermostat between 35°F and 38°F for the refrigerator and between 0°F and 5°F for the freezer. Inspect your fridge a few times a year to make sure that the door seals still work and that the coils are free of obstruction. Try to keep your fridge and freezer full of items, if possible. The items will help keep each other cold. The less empty air there is to circulate, the less energy the fridge will expend.
  11. Try out spot ventilation.

    Certain rooms, such as bathrooms and the laundry room, can create a lot of heat and humidity while in use. This is why these rooms often come equipped with built-in fans to help vent the humidity. If your bathrooms and laundry room have fans, be sure to run them while you're taking a shower or drying a load of laundry. Additionally, it's important to check that the fans vent to the outside of your home. If they vent to the attic instead, that can potentially heat up your house more as all that hot air becomes trapped at the top.
  12. Switch to LED light bulbs.

    Switching to LED light bulbs
    Only about 10 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light. The rest is turned into heat. If you still have incandescent bulbs in your house, the hot days of summer are the perfect time to transition to more energy-efficient LED bulbs. These bulbs will light your home while keeping things cool—and they last longer than incandescent bulbs, too. Regardless of what types of light bulbs you have, make sure to turn them off whenever you're not using them as leaving them on will waste energy.
  13. Unplug your electronics.

    Avoid using devices that generate a lot of heat, such as irons and hair dryers, as these will raise the temperature of your home. Whenever you're not using electronics, make sure to unplug them as well. While they might not create a lot of heat, they will passively use electricity if you leave them plugged in, a phenomenon known as vampire power. This wastes energy and drives up your electric bill, so start getting in the habit of unplugging devices when not in use.
  14. Wash with cold water.

    No matter the season, heating up water requires a lot of energy. Whenever you can, wash your clothes using cold or warm water rather than hot. In fact, most of your clothing and textiles can be washed on cold just fine. This will have the added bonus of prolonging the life of the fabric and making your clothes, sheets, and towels last longer. Wash on cold in your energy-efficient washer in order to save a significant amount of energy. You should also lower the temperature of the water whenever you shower or take a bath to preserve that extra energy. Besides, a cold shower is the perfect way to cool off after a hot summer day.
  15. Run larger appliances at night.

    Another energy-saving tip for summer: Large appliances such as washers and dryers put out a lot of heat, which uses up energy and raises the temperature of your house. Try to run these larger appliances at night once the temperature starts dropping, or first thing in the morning before things get hot.
  16. Install low-flow appliances.

    Install low-flow appliances - These devices use less water, decreasing the flow and trimming your costs. Using low-flow devices can make a big impact on your water bills.
    If you're looking to save on your utilities, low-flow faucets and other appliances can help you do just that. These devices use less water, decreasing the flow and trimming your costs. Given that many summer activities involve water, including watering your lawn and plants, using low-flow devices can make a big impact on your water bills. Many people also enjoy the added pressure from low-flow shower heads, which is an added bonus.
  17. Consider replacing your windows.

    Drafty windows equal cold winters and hot summers. While replacing the windows is an expensive proposition, over time you'll earn back the money, thanks to all that you'll save in reduced heating and cooling. Look for well-insulated, energy-efficient windows that will keep the inside air in and the outside air out. Make sure to check out reviews and ratings, as more expensive windows don't necessarily equate to better performance.
  18. Upgrade your HVAC and appliances.

    Similarly, if you have old appliances in your house, you might want to consider upgrading those to more energy-efficient models. Appliances can break down and become less efficient over time anyway, and certain energy-saving techniques simply weren't around when older models were designed. If your appliances are between 10 and 15 years old, it might be time to opt for energy-efficient units that will save you money in the long run.

Furthermore

Whether you rent or own your home, there are plenty of things you can do to cut your electricity use. Follow these home energy-saving tips for summer to cut your energy use and your bills as the days get longer and hotter.

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