After an abnormally warm winter and spring, many homeowners have already begun sweating the inevitable increase in their electricity usage that arrives along with warm summer weather. In addition to the longer days and more frequent thunderstorms most regions experience every summer, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting record high temperatures across the country in 2012.
The combination of those factors can wreak havoc on a home during summer months. Power Home Remodeling Group offers the following tips for protecting your home and wallet by saving energy this summer.
- Cut down your AC usage by turning the thermostat up during the daytime hours when no one is home, or consider installing a programmable thermostat.
- Replace air conditioner filters every month to increase your unit’s efficiency and productivity.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air but remember to turn them off when leaving the room.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade AC units, but make sure they don’t block the airflow.
- Run dishwashers and clothes dryers at night to reduce heat production in the home during the hottest hours of the day.
- Install door sweeps on the bottoms of all doors leading outside so that they lightly graze the existing threshold and keep hot air outside, and cool air in.
- Place electronic equipment like televisions and computers away from thermostats where the heat they produce could cause the AC to run overtime. Likewise, position the thermostat away from direct sunlight which can cause it to read a higher than actual temperature.
- Keep shades and blinds closed during the day to block out the sunlight and keep the house cool.
- Close any AC intake vents that are low to the floor and open those that are high on the wall to ensure warmer air is cycled back into the home through the AC system.
- On the hottest days of the summer, switch the fan mode on your thermostat from "auto" to "on" to continuously cycle the air and make the temperature on all floors feel consistent.
- Seek out drafts around kitchen and bath vents, doors, windows and outlet covers with the help of a stick of incense. Light the stick and wave it slowly in front of those areas to see where the smoke is drawn out. Repair any leaks by sealing with caulk or weather stripping and replacing trim.
- Avoid using the oven on very hot days. Instead, cook using an outdoor grill or microwave.
- Investing in new doors and energy efficient windows can protect window treatments, floors and furniture from fading due to sun damage.
- Swap old lightbulbs out for energy efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs that emit a brighter light and last longer.
- Secure loose shingles, replace damaged sections of the roof and gutters and clear gutter blockages to prevent ultimate gaps and holes that can lead to leaks and the escape of cool air.
- If replacing a roof, consider using pale-gray shingles as they will attract less heat than darker shingles.
In addition to these tips, energy and savings-conscious homeowners can conduct a home energy assessment through a do-it-yourself energy review or by hiring a licensed company. By seeking out air leaks and inspecting insulation, lighting and heating/cooling systems, homeowners can easily target the energy-sucking culprits around their homes and determine solutions.