Texas summers are one-of-a-kind. Hot, humid and expensive! Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature while it’s blazing hot outside is no easy task, but by taking steps to make your home more energy efficient, you’re not only making your home eco-friendlier but you’re lowering your energy bill too!
Tip #1: Be Smart with Your Thermostat
When you’re at home and get a bit hot, it’s tempting to just blast the AC for immediate comfort, but you shouldn’t do that. We recommend first try turning on a fan, to help cool you down. If that doesn’t work, turn your AC down a degree or two at a time until you’ve reached your desired comfort level. Turning your AC down several degrees just to cool you off is a huge waste of energy and will only make your energy bill skyrocket. When you’re away from your home, you should try to turn your thermostat up to 76-78 degrees so you’re not wasting air conditioning on an empty home. If you’re gone for long periods of time (several days or so) and have no pets home, turn it off all together! According to this article by Smart Energy, for every degree you have your thermostat above 72, you can save up to 3% on your monthly bill.
Tip #2: Install Ceiling Fans
In tip #1, we named ceiling fans as a great way to cool yourself and your home off without using your AC system. Luckily most homes come equipped with them. If your home doesn’t have a ceiling fan, you can either purchase one at your local hardware store or opt for a portable fan. Fans allow you to lower the temperature, while still staying comfortable and keep you from wasting more energy.
Tip #3: Keep Hot Air from Entering Your Home
A good way to keep the heat out of your home is to seal up any cracks that may be letting in warm air. Make sure to caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that are leaking. We also suggest keeping your fireplace damper closed tightly to ensure no hot airflow that way. Just remember to open it again in the colder months!
Tip #4: Get an Air Conditioner Tune Up
The worst time to find out your AC is inefficient is when you need in most during those super-hot days of summer. Before the peak summer heat hits, call your local AC company to come out and do a tune up on your system. You may find that it’s not working as efficiently as it should, resulting in higher energy bills. Plus, you can get ahead of any smaller problems, before they become bigger and more expensive.
Tip #5: Block the Sun Out
If you’re not already using shades, blinds or curtains, the summer is a great time to do so. Windows with no coverage allow more sunlight into your home, therefore heating it up. Try drawing your blinds during the hottest parts of the day (especially if you’re facing the south). If you’ve already got window treatments and looking for another way to block out heat, you can also try tinting your windows. It’s estimated that window tinting can block as much as 80% of the sun’s heat from your home. So not only are you keeping your home cooler in the summer, but during the winter the film will help retain the interior heat resulting in lower heating costs!
Tip #6: Upgrade to LED Lightbulbs
Incandescent bulbs turn about 90% of the energy they use into heat, so we recommend replacing those bulbs with LED bulbs. They work at a lower wattage and don’t produce half as much heat. In addition, they last about 50 times longer and use 75% less energy!
Tip #7: Don’t Heat Your Home with Appliances
While we’re on the subject of home appliances, try to use other major energy-using appliances like the dishwasher, washer or dryer during when it’s darker outside. In addition, instead of using hot water aim for warm to cold because it helps cut down on energy usage too.
Tip #8: Learn to Love Your Grill More
When it’s absolutely blazing hot outside, heating up your kitchen with your oven won’t make your home any cooler, in fact it will make it harder to cool. Utilizing your microwave or grill are two great ways to prepare your food without generating any extra heat in the house.
Tip #9: Lamps and Electronics Could Be Tricking Your Thermostat
If you have any lamps, TVs, stereos, computers or other electronic devices near your thermostat, it could trick it into thinking the room is hotter than it really is and will spend extra energy trying to cool the house down. Know where your thermostats are and try to keep electronics away.
Tip #10: Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
Did you know water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home? Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F. To learn more on how to lower your water heating settings, check out this instructional guide.
With all of these tips, they’ll definitely help you cut your energy bill down and make your home more efficient. Texas summers are notoriously hot, but that doesn’t mean they need to cost a small fortune to stay cool!