4 Simple Summer Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home
Published: August 4, 2020
Smart Motion Kit, Home Maintenance, Home Tips
Summer is in full swing and if you're in many areas of the country – the heat can make it tempting to turn down your thermostat and put the air conditioner on blast.
While nothing beats the feeling of walking in from the sweltering heat to a cool and comfortable home, achieving that ideal-temperature state can certainly do a number on your energy bill.
Fortunately, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to stay comfortable this summer while also conserving energy and saving money. Read on for four of our favorite strategies and tips.
1. Be strategic when it comes to your thermostat
A classic summertime dilemma: "How do I stay cool and comfortable in my home without driving up my energy bill?" It can certainly be tricky to balance comfort and preferences with a desire to save money, but it is possible.
First, set a temperature baseline. To stay comfortable and save money, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78° when you're home. And because you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling simply by turning your thermostat back 7°-10° from its normal setting, consider setting your thermostat to 88° when you're away or asleep.
Using a programmable thermostat makes this strategy easy. And that way – you can set the temperature to return to your ideal state an hour or so before you wake up or get home from work. Then, it'll seem as if the temperature never fluctuated at all.
If 78° seems too high for your liking, you can help your air conditioner along by preventing warm air from entering your home, which brings us to our next tip.
2. Install energy-efficient window coverings
During warm weather, about 76% of sunlight that falls on a standard double-pane window enters to become heat.
A variety of window coverings can reduce solar heat gain, lowering your cooling bills and making your home more comfortable.
Interior window treatments like shades, blinds, and curtains are relatively easy and inexpensive to install. Plus they give you the flexibility to keep your window coverings opened or closed throughout the day to reduce heat gain.
But that flexibility only works to your advantage if you actually use the window coverings strategically. One study found that 75% of residential window coverings remain in the open position all day every day. Don't let your windows fall into that 75%: close the coverings of windows that get direct sunlight in the morning and wait to open them until the afternoon.
3. Don't leave doors and windows open longer than necessary
After you've put the above strategies into place, the last thing you want to do is sabotage them by leaving doors and windows open for longer than necessary, driving your air conditioner to work overtime to maintain your set indoor temperature.
It can be tempting to fling open the windows on a beautiful summer day or leave the back door ajar as you take the dog out or enjoy a coffee on your back patio – but consider leaving saving these simple joys for more moderate temperatures.
If you have a child (or, let's be honest – a spouse) that can't seem to keep doors and windows closed in the summertime, smart home technology can help you monitor whether a door or window is opened and left ajar. Our Smart Contact Sensors (part of our Smart Motion Kit) does just that.
4. Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment
Regular home maintenance helps your cooling system to run more smoothly. Keeping your ventilation system and air conditioner in good working order can also save you money – in more ways than one.
First: regular maintenance helps your cooling equipment and appliances operate more efficiently, saving you money on your energy bill. Think about it – a faulty air conditioner that has to work twice as hard to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature can quickly drive up energy consumption and cost.
And second – regular home maintenance can help you uncover and repair minor cooling system issues before they have a chance to become major problems. Fix a leaking air conditioning unit today and save yourself from indoor water damage tomorrow.
That being said – we understand that DIY maintenance isn't for everyone. And some things should definitely be left to the professionals. We've recently launched home maintenance "checkups" in Washington and Arizona, with plans to expand to other states. If it's been awhile since a professional has taken a look at your cooling system, there's no better time than the present. (Learn more here.)
All in all, while it might seem difficult to balance comfort with energy and cost savings this summer – you can achieve both. Follow these simple strategies and explore even more (the U.S. Department of Energy is a great resource) and you'll be on your way to cool savings this summer.