As warmer weather sets in, we switch our thinking on keeping the house comfortable from heating to cooling. When temperatures rise and air conditioners are turned on, you can improve energy efficiency at home to help reduce demand, saving energy and saving money. It’s all about temperature control.
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or heat pump can play a significant part in controlling your energy use year-round.
Most people do not notice a difference in air temperature whether the thermostat is set at 73 or 78. The closer your air conditioner or heat pump setting is to the outdoor temperature; the less your unit will run. Each degree of temperature difference represents a percentage of the total cooling load, meaning when temperatures are in the high 80s, you could reduce your cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent for each degree above 75 degrees.
Fans offer an economical alternative to air conditioning on milder days. A little air blowing across a room helps reduce humidity levels. Central air conditioning can use as much as one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity for each 12-minute cycle of cooling. A ceiling fan can operate for about 13 hours on the same amount of power. Remember to turn off fans when you leave a room as they cool people, not space.
When it comes to heat and humidity, changing what you do in the kitchen might be the easiest way to reduce your household energy demand throughout the day.
Appliances on your countertops or stashed in your pantry could keep you cooler and use less energy. Consider using a slow cooker or grilling outside. Those quick family meals can also help you save because a microwave uses 60 percent less energy as full-size ovens and a toaster oven or induction cooker uses nearly half as much power.
Shade the Space
Homes with windows facing the east and west heat up quickly in the summer. Shades and drapes go a long way to keep the radiant heat out and the room cooler.
Another consideration is trees. Neighborhoods with established shade trees (like Dutch Elm) can be a few degrees cooler thanks to Mother Nature. Awnings can also be helpful additions to your home to keep radiant heat at a minimum.
Share the Space
Getting control of your energy use to reduce your home’s overall demand can be challenging when you consider the entire house. Bring back family time and break out board and card games to beat the peak.
There are many ways to gain control of your summer energy usage. Monitor your usage with SmartHub. Knowing when your family uses the most energy can help you be more aware, and may be a great place to start when it comes to saving money this summer.