Most of us in the greater Chicago area are glad to see the summer months arrive. It means the return of baseball, vacations, and trips to the beach. One thing though that summer brings that is not so welcome is the higher summer cooling bills. You are not helpless, however, in fact, far from it. From investing in solar panels to using energy saving LED lighting, there are plenty of steps you can take to be more energy efficient which in turn helps reduce summer cooling and electric bills. Here are 14 obvious, and some not-so-obvious, tips to save on your summer cooling bills.
- Consider a new HVAC system. We know, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. In the case of your HVAC system, however, a new high-efficiency system can actually reduce bills by 50% or more. It doesn’t take long to realize significant savings with efficiency ratings like those now available.
- Get rid of energy-gobbling appliances. Have a 15 or 20-year-old refrigerator in your garage for beverages? Odds are that refrigerator costs more to run over a few months than it is worth. Buy a small energy efficient dorm room size refrigerator if you need the space.
- Turn off fans in rooms where no one is spending time. Fans serve to move air and cool the skin. Moving the air in an empty room just isn’t an efficient use of electricity.
- Use room darkening blinds or curtains. You’ll be surprised at the difference window treatments can make in cooling a room, especially on westward facing windows.
- Switch to LED lighting. Not only does LED lighting use minimal electricity, it doesn’t give off any unnecessary additional heat into your living space. They are perhaps the most energy efficient device for your home available today.
- Consider how landscaping can help. A properly positioned tree can provide years of cooling shade. Bushes can deflect the heat that your outside brick may otherwise absorb. Grass disburses heat better than concrete. Landscaping is a terrific, natural way to reduce summer cooling bills.
- Look into solar options. You don’t have to have a solar farm built in your backyard or on your roof to take advantage of solar energy. You can start small, like with a solar water heater or outdoor lighting. As you realize savings you may be encouraged to do more!
- Make sure your AC units, duct work, and filters are clean. Make sure your outdoor AC unit has room to breath and is free from debris. Change filters at least every three months and have duct work cleaned annually.
- Have you thought about awnings? Awnings can save energy, add to the appearance of your home and create outdoor living space. Contemporary options are more appealing than ever.
- Be on the look out for energy thieves. We use so many electronic devices we may not even be aware they are constantly using energy. These include charging cell phones, laptops, computers, printers, electric shavers, TVs, clock radios and others. Make sure both the unit and charger is unplugged when charging is complete and unplug devices in spare rooms.
- Un-condition yourself. We call it air conditioning but we are really conditioning ourselves to be less resilient in uncomfortable temperatures. Make the effort to “un-condition” yourself by increasing the temp in your home or car. You do realize air conditioning wasn’t even invented until 1902 and people did live without it, right? You may not want to go to that extreme but you can increase your use of fans and use less AC.
- Make your HVAC system “smarter”. There are plenty of smart home devices to help you take charge of when your AC system is operating. Does it make sense to have your home cooled to 72 degrees for hour after hour when no one is home?
- Improve your insulation. You don’t have to go the whole house route but increase an area each year. Make sure doors and windows are sealed as are electrical sockets. Work on the area above the garage this year, in the attic next year. Just keep making progress!
- Price energy efficient windows. Not only can new windows save on your cooling and heating bills, but you’ll probably find they make your home quieter and more comfortable. A window and door company should be able to provide you with your approximate energy savings upon installation to help you make your decision.
It can be quite liberating to see your summer cooling bills get smaller, so get started today. If we can be of assistance, please contact us at Althoff Industries.