Summer’s hot temperatures are here! With a little planning, you can keep your home cool and save money on summer energy bills. The easiest way to keep your home cool is not to let it heat up in the first place.
Hot Weather Tips
- Good insulation, caulking and weather stripping help keep the heat outside. Shade trees, overhangs, awnings and shades and limiting the use of household appliances that emit heat also help keep it cool.
- Keep windows closed during the heat of the day, and draw blinds and draperies during the day to keep the heat out.
- Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer. There is about a 5 to 10 percent savings on the operating cost of an air conditioner for every two degrees of cooling you’re willing to give up.
- Change the filter regularly. An air conditioning unit with dirty filters can use 5 to 10 percent more energy than necessary.
- Use small fans, box fans or ceiling fans instead of the central air conditioning unit when planning to stay in one room for an extended period. Individual fans cost about 90 percent less to operate than a central AC unit.
- Adjust ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise in the summer, usually this means that the switch on the fan should be in the “down” position.
- Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Give appliances a break during hot afternoons and evenings. Many appliances create heat and moisture making the air conditioner work harder. Limit use of ranges and stoves, dishwashers, dryers, washing machines, and other heat-producing equipment during midday and early evening. Use them in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Prepare cool meals such as salads and sandwiches. If you must cook a hot meal, wait until later in the evening when it’s cooler.
- If there is a refrigerator or freezer in the garage that is not full, consider getting rid of it. These appliances tend to be older and therefore less energy efficient causing them to run continuously in very hot environments.
- Set timers on pool and spa pumps to run before 1:00 p.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- SMUD’s Shade Tree program offers free shade trees for customers whose homes have an eastern, western or southern exposure that heats up during the summer.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat at 85 degrees or higher.
- Put lights on a timer to save energy and give the house a “lived in” look.
- Draw the drapes on windows facing the south and west.
- Shift the water heater to the lowest setting.
- Check to make sure no faucets are dripping.
For additional ways SMUD can help you save energy and money, logon to smud.org for information about energy-saving programs and financing.
Disclosure: Becky Repka is employed by SMUD in Corporate Communications.