In the warmer months, you can expect the thermometer to inch up and your energy bill to follow suit, but don’t worry, there are many simple solutions for keeping your home cool, allowing you to save both energy and money.
Try these five tips to improve your home’s energy efficiency and make your home more comfortable all year round:
When temperatures dip at night, open your windows to let the cool air inside and turn off the air conditioner to conserve energy. During the day, close the windows to trap the cool air and keep the temperature down.
You can also look for window treatments and coverings to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss during the winter, such as certain fabric draperies, blinds, shutters, insulated panels, awnings and more. Prevent air leakage by adding caulk and weather stripping around your windows.
2. Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are an excellent way to cool a room, because they effectively circulate the air. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ceiling fans create a draft, allowing you to turn up the thermostat by four degrees without sacrificing comfort.
You should only install ceiling fans in rooms with ceilings at least 8 feet high, which is the optimal height for blade performance. If you live in a temperate climate, you may be able to keep the ceiling fans on without having to use an air conditioner at all.
3. Air Conditioner
While keeping the air conditioner off as much as you can tolerate helps reduce your energy bill, proper maintenance can greatly improve its efficiency. Easy fixes you can accomplish on your own include regularly changing your filter, which can lower energy use by up to 15 percent, and clearing away any debris or plants surrounding the outdoor unit to help it breathe better. You can also call a contractor to inspect the air conditioner, clear the drain and clean the fan blades to make sure you’re receiving the maximum amount of cool air from the unit. Additionally, smart thermostats, such as the Nest, can also help you optimize your energy usage and are a nice feature to note when looking to market your home for sale.
Don’t overlook your home’s duct system, as leaking ductwork can be a major cause of high energy bills. Ductwork leaks can account for 25 percent of your cooling costs by losing heated or cooled air through unsealed joints. You should consider hiring a professional to test your duct system and seal any leaks.
Rather than run your air conditioner all day, try setting your thermostat as high as you can tolerate. When you’re not at home, set it at 78 degrees to avoid wasting energy. Turning it down to a low temperature won’t cool your home faster and will only lead to you spending more on your energy bill.
Adjusting the thermostat by as much as 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day can save you 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling costs, and using a programmable thermostat can make it easier for you to switch the settings throughout the day.
Whether you plan to stay in your home for a while or you’re searching for ways to make your home more attractive to potential buyers, these ideas for increasing your home’s energy efficiency could prove to be a valuable investment, both in the short and long term.
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