Summer energy saving tips

Published June 3, 2021

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, heating and cooling comprise 55% of a typical Minnesota home’s energy use. The challenge during these next 3-4 months of warm weather is that using a lot of air conditioning can result in high electricity bills. Below are some tips to try to keep your summer electricity bill manageable while still staying comfortable. 

  1. Adjust your air conditioning. The US Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 78 degrees. This allows you to be energy efficient and still comfortable for many people. You can set your AC to the highest temperature that is comfortable for you.
  2. Have your central air conditioning unit serviced annually to make sure it’s running efficiently.  
  3. Use a programmable thermostat to control and prioritize when your air conditioning turns on and off during the day. Many people like to set the temperature higher during the day and slightly lower at night. If everyone is gone from your home for regular periods during the day, you can program the temperature higher, and set it to return to your comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you expect to arrive back home. 
  4. If you have central air conditioning, take advantage of saver programs offered by your local utility that provide a discount for allowing your utility to cycle your air conditioner on and off during peak energy times. Find out more and if your utility offers such a program here
  5. Use fans instead of, or with, air conditioners. Fans make you feel up to 4 degrees cooler due to the wind chill effect, but they don’t actually cool the air, so turn them off when you leave the room. In the summertime, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to provide a down draft. If your fan is spinning clockwise, look for a small switch on the side of the unit to reverse its direction.
  6. Remove obstacles from air vents and fans to ensure proper air flow throughout your home. 
  7. If you have a window air conditioning unit, seal it with rope caulk to cool air from leaking out and warm air coming in.   
  8. Open windows in the early morning and evening to allow cool air to flow in. On hot days, close windows and curtains in the day to maintain cool temperatures.
  9. Use bathroom fans to suck out heat and humidity from bathrooms.
  10. Avoid cooking, baking, and running appliances, such as a clothes dryer, that generate heat during the warmest parts of the day. It’s a great excuse to do some outdoor cooking and put off some of those household duties!
  11. If you need to replace your air conditioner or other appliance, look for an ENERGY STAR rated model. It will use less energy and save you money in the long run. You may also qualify for a rebate from your utility.

If you would like some more suggestions of reducing your home energy expenses or have any particular questions about your home, please reach out to me at carmenc@cubminnesota.org or call 651-300-4701, ext.2.

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Author: Carmen Carruthers

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