It's going to get hot and humid. Here are a few tips to reduce your energy use and keep your house cooler.
Household electricity use--and cost--can peak on hot summer days. Efficient choices for cooling your house can save a lot of money. Using less electricity also reduces air pollution, mercury emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions. A win-win for you and the environment!
Try out these no-cost summer energy-saving tips.
- Block the sun. Close curtains (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) and blinds during the day to keep direct sunlight from warming up the house. This can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Close windows anytime outside air is warmer than inside air. Usually, this means opening windows at night and closing them during the day. A fan can help pull in cooler night air. Be sure to close the windows up before it gets too hot.
- Use a fan when people are around, but don’t leave a fun running in an empty room. A fan feels cool because of the wind on your skin. In fact, a fan left on in an empty room only adds heat to the room from the energy in the motor.
- Turn off and avoid heat sources, like the oven, stove, incandescent light bulbs, and electronics. Try out some of these recipes for hot-weather eating.
- Avoid creating steam, because it raises the humidity level. Steam comes from boiling water, hot showers, washing dishes, or hanging wet clothes. On hot days take short, cool showers, air dry your dishes, and hang your clean clothes on a drying rack outside.
If you have central air conditioning, make sure that the unit is running efficiently.
- Install and use a programmable thermostat. Set the temperature for 78 degrees when you are home and warmer when you are away. This will feel refreshing on a hot, humid day outside.
- Lower your air conditioner's fan setting. The unit will remove more humidity, boosting comfort while saving energy.
- Enroll in utility energy-saving programs, like Xcel Energy’s Savers Switch program, to get discounts on summer electric bills.
- Tune-up your air conditioner. Just like your car, your AC unit needs some TLC from time to time to ensure it is operating efficiently. Cottonwood fuzz, grass, leaves, and dust can accumulate on the coils of your air conditioner causing it to work harder and wear out sooner. You can do it yourself! To learn more about how to keep your AC unit running well, visit the Home Energy Resource MN website.
- Get an energy audit. Find out how your house is working. An energy audit will provide an evaluation of your home’s energy use, insulation levels, air leakage and mechanical systems. Utility companies and private contractors can provide audits; check with your utility or the Minnesota Building Performance Association.