The hot, humid days of summer can increase the amount you spend on energy bills. Often just a few simple things such as adjusting or moving a thermostat can reduce energy costs significantly. Here are some easy ways that you can reduce energy costs and stay comfortable even on the hottest days.
The type of trees and where they are being planted can make a big difference in keeping your home cool. Trees that lose their leaves during the fall can be planted on the west and south side of a home to help keep it cool. The savings is estimated at as much as 25% yearly. When combined with other energy-saving measures, you may be surprised at how much you can save on cooling costs.
Your Thermostat Can Help Reduce Energy Costs
Where your thermostat is located can have a lot to do with causing your AC unit to run more than necessary. If it is located near an entrance door, people going in and out will cause the thermostat to sense heat and turn on the air. The same is true if it is located near devices that emit heat, such as televisions or lamps.
Using a programmable thermostat is another way that you can keep energy costs down. Program the thermostat a few degrees higher when you are going to be away for the day. An hour or so before you are going to return, a programmable thermostat can help by lowering the temperature so the home will be comfortable.
Losing Cool Air to the Attic
Most people know that their attic insulation should be checked and upgraded, if necessary. This area can be one of the top losses of energy in the home. When the insulation is not sufficient, not only does the cool air escape from the home, but the heat from the roof causes your house to get hot, and the air conditioner works twice as hard. Another thing that can help is a tent for the door of the attic. When placed over the opening, a seal is created, and this keeps the cool air in and the hot air out, helping to reduce energy costs.
Insulating the Ductwork
In addition to insulating the attic, the ductwork should be checked to ensure that there are no holes or leaks and that it is insulated properly. Although some loss may occur, even in well-insulated ductwork, there are ways to combat this as well. If possible, relocate ductwork to areas of the home that are air-conditioned, such as drop ceilings. When new homes are built, the ductwork is often put in insulated areas that lead to the attic to help reduce energy costs. If your home is large, the loss of cool air through the ductwork can increase energy costs quite a bit.
Ceiling Fans Help Circulate Cool Air
If your home does not have ceiling fans, installing them will help circulate the air from your AC. It can make the room feel a few degrees cooler because ceiling fans create a “wind chill effect” by moving cool air. Setting the fan to rotate counterclockwise is correct for the summer. Remember to turn the fan off when you are not in the room. Closing vents in rooms that are not being used can also help reduce energy costs.
These are just a few of the ways you can keep your home cool throughout the summer and reduce energy costs. Of course, making the investment to upgrade to a new HVAC model will also result in a lower energy bill. Look for an ENERGY STAR certified model if you decide to go this route.