Rising temperatures and more heat waves are headed our way this summer, affecting not just our comfort level but our energy bills. With your air conditioner working throughout the summer, you can expect some of your highest electric bills of the year between June and September.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be uncomfortable in the heat of July to save a few dollars on your electric bill. You can keep help your home cool by following these simple summer tips for saving energy!
1. Air Sealing and Insulation
One of the most important steps you can take to work towards a more temperature-stable and energy efficient home is to effectively air seal and insulate it. Sealing up the cracks and crevices, as well as insulating your walls, keeps the temperature-treated cool or warm air inside your home so that you don’t have to worry about it escaping out. The best part is that these efforts to properly air seal and insulate your home will help you out year-round, keeping you warm in the winter too. This means year-round savings on heating and cooling costs!
Installing insulation can be a big project that you may need to plan ahead for. Learn to air seal and insulate your home all by yourself with DIY tips that will help weatherize your living space.
- Seal up the gaps and cracks in your home to keep cool air from escaping and warm air from entering the house.
- Properly air sealing and insulating your home helps save on your energy bill year-round.
2. Efficient Air Conditioning
When you’re running your air conditioning, make the most of it by maximizing air conditioning efficiency. Effectively making use of your ceiling fans, cleaning your air conditioning vents, and knowing when to replace your air conditioner will go a long way while saving on your energy bill.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
- Fans and air conditioning function nicely together. Running your ceiling fan counterclockwise creates a wind chill effect that makes it feel four degrees cooler, so you can keep your air conditioning set a little higher. Just remember to switch off the fans when you leave your home to avoid unnecessary energy costs.
Clean Air Conditioning Vents
- Neglecting basic maintenance results in poor performance and excessive energy use. Vacuum your air vents on a regular basis to remove any dust accumulation. Also, check that no furniture or other things are blocking the vents and restricting airflow.
Air Conditioner Replacement
- The most cost-effective strategy to save energy is to replace aging cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models. It may seem like keeping an outdated air conditioner will save you more than getting a new one. However, you could be paying more than you need too by allowing it to run for a longer time to get your home at a comfortable temperature. Get in touch with you air conditioning service provider to see if it’s time for an upgrade.
- Turn on your ceiling fan to create a wind chill effect.
- Regularly clean your air conditioning vents.
- Know when to replace cooling appliances.
3. Wash With Cold Water and Hang Dry
Using a cold wash cycle to wash the dishes and laundry uses less energy than using hot water and can help you save on your energy bill. Refrain from running your dishwasher or laundry machine until you have full loads of each so that you don’t need to run it as often.
You can also save by air drying your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer – consider purchasing a clothing air dry rack to hang your laundry. Plus, this prevents the excess heat that comes off your dryer when you run it.
- Save energy by washing clothes in cold water
- Hang dry clothing
4. Use Your Smart Thermostat
Follow the recommendations in our Energy Efficiency FAQ blog and set your thermostat to 76 degrees while at home. According to the Department of Energy, this is the ideal temperature to set your thermostat to in order to reduce your cooling costs. You can allow your thermostat to run on 88 degrees when you’re not at home.
To save more on your heating and cooling costs, consider getting a smart thermostat if you haven’t done so already. A smart thermostat adjusts to your living habits throughout the day and modifies itself to energy saving temperatures when you are away from home or sleeping. Consider purchasing a smart thermostat at a discounted rate through the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP). Reach out to see if you’re eligible for a single-family home assessment!
- 76 degrees is the most energy efficient temperature to set your thermostat to while at home
- Get a smart thermostat!
5. Save On Your Bill Through Demand Response Programs
Most utilities offer a demand response program that helps you save money in the summer. During times of high energy demand, like a hot summer afternoons, the utility will give you a credit on your bill if you reduce energy use. This helps you saving money on your energy bill while also reducing stress on the energy grid!
If you’re a ComEd customer, you can enroll in Peak Time Savings to get alerts and start earning bill credits this summer. Sign up at comed.com/peaktimesavings.
If you’re an Ameren Illinois customer, you can enroll in their Peak Time Rewards program. Sign up at ameren.com/peaktimerewards.
- Enroll in a demand response program with your utility to save money on your energy bill.
- You’ll get a bill credit if you reduce energy during high demand times.
Saving Energy Has No Season!
Summertime isn’t the only time to save energy. Many of these suggestions will help you become more energy efficient at home throughout the year. Your home will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter thanks to air sealing and smart thermostat usage. Developing smart energy practices will help you save money on your energy cost year after year by reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and lowering your energy bill.
Connect with Elevate by following us on Instagram and Facebook @elevatecommunityevents. Want to be featured in an upcoming story? Post photos and videos of your energy efficiency lifestyle by using the hashtag #elevatecommunityevents.
We also encourage you to get in touch with a Community Resource Coordinator to see if you’re eligible for an energy assessment through Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP). Send us a message through Instagram or Facebook, or call us at (833) 204-1992.
Want to share this valuable lesson with others in the community? Share this article with family, friends, and coworkers, or reach out to Elevates community resource team for a virtual, live presentation!