As the summer heats up in Austin and temperatures reach triple digits, energy usage will spike. There are a variety of ways to save energy in a home during this time of year, and many of them can be easily implemented without sacrificing comfort.
Use a programmable thermostat:
One of the most effective ways to save energy in a home is to use a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat can be programmed to adjust the temperature of your home based on your schedule, which means you can set it to automatically turn off the air conditioning when you're not at home or at night when you're sleeping. This can save you up to 10% on your energy bill each year.
Seal air leaks:
Air leaks are a major source of energy waste in many homes, especially in older homes. Sealing air leaks around doors, windows, and other openings can help prevent the cool air from escaping and reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your home. Common areas to check for leaks include around windows and doors, through electrical outlets, and around pipes and ductwork.
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances:
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can help reduce your energy usage and save you money on your energy bills. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which means they meet certain energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In particular, upgrading to an energy-efficient air conditioner can make a big difference in your energy usage during the hot summer months.
Use ceiling fans:
Ceiling fans can help circulate the air in your home and make it feel cooler, even if the temperature remains the same. This can help reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your home and save you money on your energy bills. In addition, using a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner can help you feel more comfortable at a higher temperature, which can also save you money.
Plant trees and install shade structures:
Planting trees and installing shade structures can help reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters your home, which can reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your home. This can be particularly effective if you plant trees on the west and south sides of your home, where the sun is the strongest during the afternoon hours.
Use energy-efficient lighting:
Switching to energy-efficient lighting can help reduce your energy usage and save you money on your energy bills. Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which use up to 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer. In addition, consider using motion-sensor lights in areas that are frequently used but not always occupied, such as the laundry room or garage.