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Saving Energy in Summer While Beating the Heat

Saving energy in the summer can be a difficult balancing act. While everyone wants to stay cool in the summertime, high energy bills are a common concern.

As energy efficiency experts, REenergizeCO is committed to helping customers in Denver, Fort Collins, and the Front Range maximize the comfort and efficiency of their homes. In addition to making recommendations for beating the heat, we can help diagnose the issues that lead to high energy costs and discuss potential improvements to your home.

Keep reading for tips on saving energy in the summer without having to break your budget. If you are looking for more permanent solutions to high energy bills, schedule a home energy audit with REenergizeCO today.

1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Manual thermostats are inefficient. Inaccurate temperature readings can cause central air conditioners to run non-stop, pushing your energy bills in summer through the roof.

A programmable thermostat is a great investment that can help you save energy and money year-round. Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, so you can adjust the temperature while you are away from home or asleep.

2. Seal Air Leaks in Doors and Windows

On a hot summer day, you may be grateful for a draft that cools down parts of the house. However, drafty windows and doors are a leading cause of energy loss in the home.

Take the following steps to see if a drafty window or door (or more than one) is causing issues:

  • Run your hand along the frame of each window or door to feel for cool or warm air entering the house
  • Perform a visual inspection of weather stripping, caulking, and other seals
  • Make sure each door and window is aligned with the frame

Fixing a drafty door may require repair and replacement of certain parts, such as the hinges, weatherstripping, etc., or replacement of the door itself. Similarly, windows may need to be re-caulked or have weatherstripping replaced. Alternatively, window replacement may be necessary if degradation or an energy-inefficient design is the problem.

3. Keep Blinds and Curtains Closed

Direct sunlight can heat up a home quickly. If you have sun pouring in at the hottest part of the day, you’re going to find it difficult to keep cool.

Early in the day, you may be able to keep eastern-facing rooms cool simply by closing the blinds and opening the windows. As the day heats up, you may need to turn on fans or air conditioning to cool rooms on the west side.

4. Manage Your Appliance Usage

An electric oven, a washer and dryer, a dishwasher—large appliances consume a lot of electricity. They also generate a lot of heat, which can make your air conditioner work harder.

Simple adjustments to your appliance usage can cut down on electricity and keep your house cooler. For example, try running your dishwasher or dryer at night when it’s cooler outside. For added energy savings (not to mention eco-friendliness), you can use a clothesline or drying rack instead.

5. Keep AC Filters Clean

Whether you have a window-mounted AC unit or central air, the efficiency of any air conditioner hinges on the filters being clean and free of dust and debris. Checking and replacing AC filters should be part of preparing your home for the summer. The filters should be checked once a month and replaced every 3 months.

6. Use Ceiling Fans

In Denver alone, approximately 70% of homes have air conditioning. However, if you don’t have central air or choose not to use it so you can save money and protect the environment, ceiling fans are an extremely effective alternative for cooling your home.

Running ceiling fans costs a fraction of what it takes to run the AC. Make sure your fans are set to rotate counterclockwise during the summer, which will create a cooling breeze in your home.

7. Cook Outside

Using your oven or stove can generate a lot of heat in your home, forcing the air conditioning to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Cook outside on a grill or smoker to avoid generating excess heat in your home. This will help you save energy, as well as allow you to enjoy some delicious outdoor meals.

8. Use Natural Ventilation

One of the easiest ways to cool your home without electricity is to take advantage of the cooler temperatures outside to make the interior more comfortable. Saving energy in the summer can be easily achieved by opening windows and doors in the mornings and evenings, creating a cross-breeze for the entire house.

9. Exercise Intelligently

Whether you have a home gym or the outdoors is your fitness space, it is important to time your workouts to the weather. You run the risk of overheating if you exercise at the hottest time of the day; the hotter you are, the more you’ll need to run fans or air conditioning to cool down. If you work out early to mid-morning or in the early evening, meanwhile, you will be much more comfortable and won’t have to rely on the air conditioner.

10. Cool Down with DIY Solutions

If you are struggling with uneven cooling of your home or you’re trying to minimize your use of fans and air conditioning, there are steps you can take for a quick cooldown. Moisten a towel or washcloth with cool water, then apply it to areas like the back of your neck, your armpits, and the bend of your knees.

The areas where you can feel your pulse are the best places to position your cold compress. One strategically placed compress can make your whole body start to feel cooler.

Bonus Tip: Make Sure Your Insulation Is Getting the Job Done

Proper home insulation makes perhaps the single biggest difference between a house that is comfortable and efficient in the summertime versus one that is uncomfortable and costs you money. Your insulation needs to be able to retain cool air while keeping out the hot air on the exterior of your home.

Although absent, degraded, or insufficient insulation can be a problem anywhere in your home, a few key places to check in summer include:

  • The attic
  • The garage
  • Walls (especially those with doors or windows built into them)
  • Air ducts
  • Ceilings and floors

In Colorado, it is crucial to have home insulation that can withstand extreme temperature changes. The forecast can go from the low 80s to nearly 100 and back down again within the space of only one week.

Get Help Saving Energy in Summer—and Beyond

A combination of energy-efficient choices and lifestyle adjustments can help you affordably beat the heat this summer. If you want to lower your energy bills long-term, REenergizeCO offers a number of upgrades.

The first step in our process is a home energy audit. Xcel Energy recognizes us as the top rebate-producing energy audit company in the Denver metro area. Our professional team completes a thorough assessment of your home to determine what’s causing your electricity costs to spike and what can be done to save you money.

Contact REenergizeCO today to explore solutions for saving energy in the summer!